Tory councillor kicked off health council after missing every meeting since April 2020
Alex Seabrook, local democracy reporter
Three councillors in the Vale of Glamorgan have been kicked off a community health council for missing too many meetings.
Conservative councillor Leighton Rowlands has missed every single meeting, of the South Glamorgan community health council, which acts as a watchdog scrutinising the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, since April last year.
Sitting on the community health council are 24 members including three councillors each from Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.
But because of poor attendance Stephen Allen, the chief executive of the community health council, was forced to write to Vale of Glamorgan council, asking for replacement councillors who would actually turn up to meetings.
He said: “The community health council recognises that local authority representatives are very busy with supporting their constituencies.
“However I have been made aware that three members have not participated in or engaged in any community health council activities for some time. I am writing to request these members be removed.”
Between April last year and August this year, Cllr Rowlands attended zero meetings. Fellow Tory councillors Christine Cave and Rachel Nugent-Finn attended just nine and eight meetings each.
‘Unable to be in two places at once’
They explained their absences by saying they all had to attend other meetings of different groups and were “unable to be in two places at once”.
A spokesman for Cllrs Rowlands, Cave, and Nugent-Finn said: “Councillors sit on many committees and outside bodies and unfortunately this means that meetings inevitably clash.
“When the Labour-Vale Independent administration took over in 2019 Cllrs Rowlands, Cave, and Nugent-Finn agreed to continue sitting on the community health council after being asked to do so by the incoming leader. Seemingly no Labour or Vale Independent members volunteered to take on the role at that time.
“During the period in question Cllrs Rowlands, Cave, and Nugent-Finn have between them attended over 150 Vale of Glamorgan council meetings. This is far higher than the attendance record of the average backbench councillor.
“On top of this they’ve also attended dozens of town and community council meetings as well as school governor meetings. And this is before you take into account meetings with individual constituents. Cllrs Rowlands, Cave and Nugent-Finn are hardworking, dedicated and committed members of the council but for obvious reasons are unable to be in two places at once.”
Vale council’s cabinet agreed on Monday, November 22, to start the search for three councillors to replace those who were kicked off the community health council.