I know there is often concern that councillors can become a self perpetuating clique. Once elected they can remain for long time, if they are in a safe ward, with deselection only likely if there has been some scandal or rebellion – rather than being deselected simply because they have done a poor job.
One factor that must help sitting councillors keep on our toes is the number of people offering themselves as candidates. There does seem to be a problem that people wait to be asked. So I was interested in a story in the Local Government Chronicle about head hunters being used – in an experiment by all three main parties. One of the candidates standing for us in May in Kensington and Chelsea has reportedly been found by Tribal, a recruitment firm working pro bono for the K&C Conservative Group. Given that a couple of regular commenters to this site are quick to criticise this particular council for being a cliquey, closed shop, I think it is interesting that they have tried this innovative, professional approach to bring in new blood.
I'm not sure that a firm is necessarily the best way to do it though. Wouldn't it make sense for a sitting councillor of being given the Association membership list and tasked with ringing round everyone asking how they feel about the local council and whether perhaps they have thought of standing for it themselves. That way those interested could immediately ask what is involved – something a councillor would be able to explain rather better than a recruitment firm.