Room 123, Wandsworth Town Hall
Room 123, Wandsworth Town Hall
Days of my life have been wasted spent productively in Room 123

I was thinking about the Shaftesbury Ward report back next week, and specifically the leaflet containing facts and figures about the ward and the area. One thing it doesn’t contain is any real information about the councillors. However, I do publish some information already on my open data page so I spent an idle few minutes assessing my meeting attendance.

I will caveat this post: I don’t think meeting attendance is a very good measure of the quality or otherwise of a councillor. Frankly, what they do outside the formal meetings can be a lot more meaningful to the day-to-day lives of residents. And while it’s easily measurable, it’s binary; you were either at a meeting or you weren’t, it says nothing of the contribution you made.

The following relate to the 2010-2011 municipal year, and basically include all the meetings that run from the 2010 annual council meeting up to the 2011 annual council meeting. It details ‘public’ meetings, those that are formally minuted and feature on the council website, and those I attend as a council nominee.

Overall performance
Of the 60 meetings I listed I managed to attend 49, an overall rate of 82%. I could argue that was pretty good, but then I’d be a little hypocritical given what I’ve said about meetings not being a good measure of a councillor!

What might be a little more revealing is why I missed 18% of meetings.
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I’ve always wondered what this blog is about. I say it’s personal, but so much is about the council it’s hard not to see it as a councillor blog. There’s not even much mention of politics on here, which strikes even me as a little strange.

But every now and again I find something that really isn’t council related and that I must post. This is one of those things.

I’m a bit of a digital hoarder, so I still have a copy of the hard drive from my old PC (I moved to a Mac in 2005). When I kept it there was obviously a value, there would be documents and files on there I might need to refer to. But five years on I’m going through deleting most of it and keeping anything that is still relevant.

And then I came across this:

It’s a PowerPoint template entitled “Motivating a Team”. It’s dated 1999, so I imagine that for a few years around the turn of the century groups would be gathered together and have to go through the Microsoft/Dale Carnegie formula for motivation. And it’s hard to imagine how it could go wrong: from “deliver an inspirational opening” to the “inspirational close” this is 10 slides of PowerPoint gold.

I’m a bit of a PowerPoint tyrant; some council officers will tell you of the arbitrary rules I apply to try to prevent the atrocious practices of excessive bullet points, reams of text and, worst of all, presenters reading from the slides while their audience is doing exactly the same.

Of course, presentation software can work well. You only need to see a Steve Jobs presentation or a few TEDtalks to know that. But when I see bundled templates like this I would happily see PowerPoint (though not Apple Keynote) outlawed and excessively harsh penalties imposed on anyone using it.