How hard are your councillors working to stand up for you in Hounslow ?
It's a difficult question to answer, but exclusive new figures show a huge variation in the amount of casework being handled through Hounslow Council 's official portal.
Council leader Steve Curran raised 477 pieces of casework through the council's computer system during 2015/16, while 14 councillors - nearly a quarter of the 60 in the borough - submitted fewer than 10.
Councillors' casework can include issues brought to their attention by residents and businesses, ranging from faulty paving to housing complaints, or matters members have identified independently.
Queries raised via the council's casework team are supposed to be handled by the relevant council officer, who is expected to investigate and report back within 10 days.
It is important to note that the figures, exclusively obtained by getwestlondon , are not necessarily an accurate reflection of how much work councillors are taking on.
Councillors also raising issues via Twitter and Facebook
Many councillors have said they prefer to report matters directly to council officers or contractors via email, Twitter or in person - and figures for such queries are not recorded by the council.
Syon ward councillor Theo Dennison, for example, said he dealt directly with the cabinet members or officers responsible for the matter in question.
He told getwestlondon he reported environmental problems, like fly-tipping, directly to the council or to the street cleaning contractor Hounslow Highways via Twitter.
It is also unsurprising that Councillor Curran raised nearly twice as many cases through the portal as the next councillor on the list, Gurpal Virdi, with 240.
As the council supremo he is likely to attract more queries or complaints from residents or businesses looking to go straight to the top.
'Casework tends to involve more complex matters'
Councillor Curran recognised that generating casework through the council portal was just one of many ways to handle queries from residents.
He said councillors were encouraged to use all forms of communication, including Twitter and Facebook, to engage with their residents and take up issues on their behalf.
"Elected members can raise issues in a variety of ways," he said.
"Generating 'casework' is one but in many instances, questions and queries can be handled in less formal ways such as reporting issues directly through our website, email exchanges, telephone calls, surgeries and residents' meetings.
"Councillors are also using social media such as Facebook and Twitter to deal with issues raised by local residents, which can range from housing issues to street lighting.
"Casework tends to involve more complex matters and these do not necessarily occur on the same number of occasions for all members. Some, for instance, may result from issues in particular parts of the borough."
When councillors report a matter to the council's casework team, they are supposed to receive a response within 10 days, though more complex matters can take longer.
Concerns about quality of council reporting system
Some councillors have told us they choose to circumvent the official reporting system because they find it difficult to use or because they get answers more quickly via other routes.
Cllr Dennison said the council was keen to get councillors to use the members casework system to log issues, but that he found the response rate poor.
He said the only enquiries of his that were logged on the system were those where council officers responding to direct enquiries had added them.
As for the quality of the system, he said the reports he had received when using it previously only told him that the enquiry had been closed.
He said they included no information on what action had been taken, making it tricky for him to update his constituents.
How much casework is your councillor handling?
|Council ward||Councillor||Party||Casework raised during 2015/16||Casework closed in 2015/16|
|Chiswick Homefields||Gerald McGregor||Conservative||14||14|
|Chiswick Homefields||Robert Oulds||Conservative||23||27|
|Chiswick Homefields||John Todd||Conservative||118||118|
|Chiswick Riverside||Felicity Barwood||Conservative||N/A||N/A|
|Chiswick Riverside||Sam Hearn||Conservative||23||16|
|Chiswick Riverside||Paul Lynch||Conservative||46||41|
|Feltham North||John Chatt||Labour||51||54|
|Feltham North||Khulique Malik||Labour||52||53|
|Feltham North||Hina Mir||Labour||7||8|
|Feltham West||David Hughes||Labour||1||1|
|Feltham West||Elizabeth Hughes||Labour||4||4|
|Feltham West||Alan Mitchell||Labour||57||61|
|Hanworth Park||Bishnu Gurung||Labour||52||55|
|Hanworth Park||Tina Howe||Labour||8||7|
|Hanworth Park||Hanif Khan||Labour||31||31|
|Heston Central||Harleen Atwal Hear||Labour||13||15|
|Heston Central||Manjit Buttar||Labour||9||9|
|Heston Central||Surinder Purewal||Labour||3||3|
|Heston East||Kamaljit Kaur||Labour||8||8|
|Heston East||Gurmail Lal||Labour||14||13|
|Heston East||Amrit Mann||Labour||81||79|
|Heston West||Lily Bath||Labour||28||34|
|Heston West||Rajinder Bath||Labour||13||11|
|Heston West||Shantanu Rajawat||Labour||13||13|
|Hounslow Central||Ajmer Grewal||Labour||10||11|
|Hounslow Central||Pritam Grewal||Labour||49||47|
|Hounslow Central||Nisar Malik||Labour||10||10|
|Hounslow Heath||Colin Ellar||Labour||10||12|
|Hounslow Heath||Mukesh Malhotra||Labour||164||161|
|Hounslow Heath||Corinna Smart||Labour||18||18|
|Hounslow South||Tom Bruce||Labour||83||86|
|Hounslow South||Shaida Mehrban||Labour||18||17|
|Hounslow South||Bob Whatley||Labour||16||16|
|Hounslow West||Bandna Chopra||Labour||29||28|
|Hounslow West||Puneet Grewal||Labour||9||11|
|Hounslow West||Jagdish Sharma||Labour||9||9|
|Osterley & Spring Grove||Peter Carey||Conservative||3||3|
|Osterley & Spring Grove||Tony Louki||Labour||144||147|
|Osterley & Spring Grove||Sheila O'Reilly||Conservative||43||42|
|Turnham Green||Samantha Davies||Conservative||16||16|
|Turnham Green||Adrian Lee||Conservative||10||10|
|Turnham Green||Peter Thompson||Conservative||21||19|
* figures only include casework raised through the official council portal