|
City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council
 

Your Council

By name

Photograph of Councillor Mohammad Shabbir

Annual Report May 2012 - May 2013

Name of Councillor: Mohammad Shabbir

Ward: Heaton

Party: Bradford Independent Group

Date Elected: 2012

Next Election date: 2016

Allowances: 2012 - 2013

Basic: £13,043

Special Responsibility: None

Other Council related Remuneration: None

Positions held (May 2012 - May 2013):
Bradford West Area Committee
CORPORATE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
REGENERATION AND ECONOMY OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

Other meetings/bodies which I regularly attend:
I have attended all but two Neighbourhood Forums
NPT Meetings
Area Panel Meetings
Attended all but one full Council meeting last year
Attended all but one Regeneration and Economy Overview Scrutiny Committee meetings
Attended the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee to support colleagues

My priorities for the past year (May 2012 - May 2013) were:
My basic priority over this year has been to work hard and to represent the following issues:

Odeon
Westfield
AWM on Canal Road and support residents
Learn the ropes of being a councillor
Being visible in the community and various media outlets

What I have achieved in the past year (May 2012 - May 2013):
An amazing and exhausting year as a councillor has gone in the blink of an eye. It's been amazing because I've learnt a lot, met a lot of people, supported constituents and have made a difference. My mantra during the elections in May 2012 was 'I'll be working hard for the residents of Heaton'. This report outlines the activities I have been undertaking over the year. However, before I go on to do this it is important to share with you what I understand the role of a councillor to be and then provide you with an update of the key headlines and quantitative data.

Becoming a councillor has entailed undertaking four distinct areas/roles all of which I feel are essential features of political activity in the life of a councillor. These are:

1. Representation:

The needs and interests of people living in a political constituency need to be represented within the political spheres of the Council where overall political decisions are made and scrutinized. This can be further broken down into the following area:

A) Strategically and globally: This includes contributing views, opinions and advocating for the interests of local people about the various policies developed and or put forward by the Executive e.g. cutting Council tax relief for the vulnerable, the City Growth Zone, Leeds City Region, Leisure Review, City Centre Generation, Odeon and Westfield to name but a few. On all these issues I have played an active part in the Scrutiny framework of the Council. I sit in the Economy and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee and have attended all but one of the meetings last year. I'm also an alternate on the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee and in that role I have attended five meetings over the year and played an active role within the meetings. I have also attended full Council, West Area Committee as well as other occasional meetings.

B) Thematically: This could be about specific issues that interest local residents e.g. environment and issues related to Associated Waste Management (AWM) plant on Canal Road. With regards to this issue I have actively championed the needs of local residents both with the Council and also the Environment Agency. Recently I supported residents in the Environmental and Waste Management Overview and Scrutiny Committee. We have brought about pressure on AWM. There are also issues of equality and campaigning for excluded groups for better and fairer services and distribution of wealth and wellbeing within the district.

C) Needs of local residents: via Neighbourhood, Ward and NPT meetings and Area Panel meetings. I have been an active member of the West Area Panel Committee and attended all but one meeting (I came onto the Committee after six months).

2) Accessible:

A function and role of a councillor is to be accessible to local residents and being present in ones constituency as well as the district. This takes place in the following manner:

A) Attendance at community events: That are organised via community groups, Council, individuals and groups e.g. Heaton Gala, Palestine fundraiser, demonstration against cuts, and Friends of Congo/Palestine/Rohinga etc.

B) Responding to needs of residents concerns: For example planning, schooling, housing, benefits etc. This historically has taken place through councillor surgeries that are meant to take place on a monthly basis and are usually 1hr long. However I have chosen to make myself more accessible through 1) printing posters and placing them in the wards Community Centres, shops etc. 2) through Facebook and twitter 3) undertaking home visits to support people. I have found these to be more effective than holding monthly surgeries.

3) Being a change agent: which is in my view a mechanism for me to promote and talk about issues that will create discussion in the public domain. This involves making statements and or being seen undertaking/participating in programs led by people from different sections of the community e.g. visiting churches, mosques, challenging or supporting statements of others (against extremism and for pluralism).

4) Party political activity: This is an essential role because political parties are means to bringing about progressive change that will address issues of poverty, inclusion and inequality, fair economic participation and distribution of wealth. Therefore over the year I have actively been involved in the Respect Party and helping it to develop in a progressive and inclusive manner.

Having outlined what is involved in the role of a councillor it is important to outline the headline news of what I have been doing. In order to do this I have been keeping a daily diary of activities related to the above four key areas as well as associated duties. I have illustrated these below in the form of two tables, which illustrate the range of activity and the themes (or areas in which people needed support). The only caveat is that on some occasions my daily recording wasn't as methodical as I liked and so I did not capture the full nature or extent of my work. Nevertheless I have given a good picture of the activity. I have sought to work with and support all people in my constituency irrespective of their beliefs, values and or life style choice.

Table I
Folio Area of Activity Numbers
1 Community Visits/Events/ Appearances 80
2 Council Meetings/events/full Council 57
3 Home Visits 116
4 Respect Party meetings 43
5 Media/News Paper/Facebook/blog 46
6 Admin Case 68

The Table above highlights the six main areas of activity involved in being a councillor. By doing this analysis it is clear that my main area of activity has been within the community and is comprised of home visits, events, appearances as well as participation in the media. My approach to undertake home visits made possible by wide distribution of my contact details has been justified in that I undertook 116 homes visits to constituents. The standard approach is to have surgeries, however I have chosen a different approach.

Table 2

Folio Issues Addressed Numbers
1 Community Interest Benefits 1
2 Community Interest (CI) Disabled Parking 1
3 CI Salisbury Road 2
4 CI Disabled Facilities Grant 2
5 CI AWM 3
6 CI Kensington Street Business Support 2
7 CI Westfield 11
8 CI Ashwell Farm 5
9 CI Planning 15
10 CI Housing 14
11 CI Young People 3
12 CI Immigration 14
13 CI Crime and Victim Support 17
14 CI Environmental 21
15 CI Supporting/references 5
16 CI Business /Markets /Regeneration/Employment 17
17 CI Rights 19
18 CI School/Education 11
19 CI Abuse 1
20 CI Health 3
21 CI Council Tax 1
22 CI Roads /Parking 7
23 CI Passports/Attestations/Visa 48

The above table highlights the diversity of issues that have been brought to my attention, with some being simply a matter of sign posting. In others my involvement has been more substantive. Many have had positive outcomes but on some occasions I can only do what is within my remit and power. This is particularly true of some planning issues. I have actively promoted and engaged on a number of issues including Ashwell Farm, Associated Waste management and odours, Odeon, Westfield and championing residents needs e.g. housing.

I have also tried to raise issues of importance such as homelessness, domestic violence and the like. However, I have not included these in the statistics I have collected. Much of that work is in my voluntary personal capacity e.g. Intouch Foundation where I'm the chair and also volunteer. I do this role not as a councillor but in my own time but understand that it's hard for people to separate my personal life from my being a councillor.

Comments and Feedback:

I have included below some feedback from residents about my work and role.

1. "Thank you for your efforts. And going to GG office for better support. Cllr Shabbir we are very glad that all our family voted for a Cllr who is proactive towards the elderly, vulnerable and disadvantage. With sincerity please do NOT hesitate to drop at our house ANY time when u r in the vicinity. Thank you". Haworth Road Residents.

2. "Here is some feedback for the help you have given us with the disabled facilities grant appeal for my sister. We were made aware of Cllr Shabbir and his work with individuals with mental health issues when I met George Galloway to ask if he or a member of his team could assist us with the above appeal. The help we received was second to none. I was contacted by Cllr Shabbir as I was told by Mr Galloway's PA a few days after the meeting. Cllr Shabbir subsequently came to our house (with another gentlemen) to gain further insight into problem.

We found Cllr Shabbir extremely approachable and sympathetic to our cause. I often find that due to the busy nature of being ward councillor phone calls or indeed messages are never returned. But my experience was surprisingly different, all phone calls were returned and any help he said he could give was delivered.

Cllr Shabbir accompanied us to the appeal hearing (the outcome was in our favour) in addition to another meeting with members of the adaptation department. This kind of support was very helpful to our cause. I wish Cllr Shabbir all the best for the future and hope he continues his sterling work for the people he represents Insha'Allah". South Asian female Carer.

3. "So after our rambling... you have supported us all the way in what you saw was right. We appreciate what you tried to do and I am sure our neighbours would agree. You put 'local' back into local politics, which is as it should be. We know you represent a political party but local politics are not about Political Parties but what matters locally regardless. So thank you for your time and all you have tried to do. If you'd like any more about your work or for us to be more specific please let us know. Best wishes and keep up the good work.'' White English Couple Heaton.

There have been many other key achievements and highlights however I will restrict the feedback to the ones above.

Priorities for next Year:

Continue to participate in all Scrutiny meetings, holding to account officers and offering suggestions wherever possible.

Continue to monitor AWM and direct Council's attention to the odour problems affecting other parts of the district.

Winter preparation to targeting those areas hard hit.

Developing the party to which I belong.

Working on youth issues in my area.

Continue to raise issues around inequality within the district and pockets of deprivation within Heaton Ward.

To write more on topical issues and contribute to the Facebook page.

Undertake more walks through the constituency.

Conclusion

It's been a busy and positive year. I have kept my promise of serving the people of Heaton who find themselves in difficult circumstances and hope to continue in the remaining years of my term.

Finally I'd like to say a big thank you to the people who supported me to get elected, my family and those people who have continued to support me throughout the year.

Peace to you all.

My priorities for the coming year (May 2013 - May 2014) will be:
Continue to work hard in all Scrutiny meetings holding to account officers and offering suggestions wherever possible.

Continue to monitor AWM and direct Council's attention to the odour problems affecting other parts of the district.

Winter preparation to targeting those areas hard hit.

Developing the party to which I belong.

Working on youth issues in my area.

Continue to raise issues around inequality within the district and pockets of deprivation within Heaton Ward.

I have attended the following training sessions, seminars, briefings and conferences to develop skills and gain knowledge that will help me serve the people of the district:

Introduction to Scrutiny
Safeguarding Children and Adults


Publication Date

Click Here to View Previous Year Annual Report