Dec 28 2012

How responsive is your Harrow Councillor if you email them?

email-inbox-150x150We’ve just run a small straw-poll in iharrow.com, to see if our Harrow councillors bother to check their email and respond to residents. Let’s be clear: it’s not a scientific study, more an informal effort to see whether local councillors are as engaged with the people as much as they’d like to make out.

To that end, we emailed the 61 councillors that publish their email address on the council’s website. Some of these are their ‘official’ one at harrow.gov.uk; others are, presumably, personal ones – there’s a fair few gmail.com address in there.

Our intent was to establish if councillors read and reply to queries. In our email, we simply explained that all we wanted was an acknowledgement that they’d read the email sent. In fact, we asked them:

The purpose of this email is simply to see how ‘plugged in’ you are to email – do you make yourself available to your constituents by email? All we’d ask you to do is simply to reply to this email, so that we know you’ve read it. There’s no need to write anything, to comment, or do anything else than send a reply, simply so we know you’ve read it.

So, how many of those 61 councillors bothered to respond? Just sixteen: seven Conservatives, one independent and eight Labour councillors. The earliest arrived back within 14 minutes. The longest was just over 14 days. The remaining 45 councillors either didn’t receive the email (entirely possible, given the recent email problems that the council has experienced) or simply didn’t bother to reply. Unfortunately, we can’t tell the difference.

If you, too, are finding your councillor simply isn’t answering your email, it’s probably a better idea to give them a call. Clearly, either email in’t something every councillor entertains as a way to engage with his or her constituents, or the email problems at the council are still ongoing.

We’ve asked Harrow Council for a comment, and will update this article if we hear back from them.


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