CHICKERELL councillor John Worth says the Dorset Council’s own figures for meeting attendances to not provide a true picture of the work councillors do.

His own statistics show an 88 per cent attendance at committees he was expected to attend plus four attendances at other meetings which he had no obligation to. It means he attended 7 or the 8 committees he was expected to be at and 4 extras, giving him 11 meetings which counted for attendance during the January to July period, higher than many other councillors.

Cllr Worth, one of only four independent councillors, says that he, like others, also sits on a number of executive advisory panels at Dorset Council and often attends other meetings, including those of Chickerell town council, none of which count as attendance for the purposes of the unitary council’s figures.

“I wouldn’t want people to think, because of these figures, that is all we do – there’s a lot going on behind the scenes which is not being counted,” he said.

Cllr Worth says that he, and several fellow independent councillors on Dorset Council, have all been busy during the pandemic lockdown period with non-council work such as collecting prescriptions and shopping for people in the local community.

Another councillor, Weymouth’s Ryan Hope, says his own figures do not tell the full story, although accurately quoted. The council’s figures show him as attending only one of the four meetings between January and July he was expected at.

He said he missed one meeting due to a work commitment; one because a meeting was rescheduled and he had a prior arrangement on the new date, he was unable to avoid, and one due to illness.

“The committee l sit on is yet to meet online and l was excluded from the last full council as they looked to keep numbers down,” said Cllr Hope.

He is one of several councillors who have asked for meetings to be held in the evening, as they are at Weymouth town council and Dorchester town council, so that people who work stand a better chance of attending.

The only Dorset Council meetings routinely held in the evening are the meetings of the full council, which has not met since February and will not meet again until September. Dorset councillors are currently under no obligation to attend any meetings at all.