Derby City Council

Time for Cllr/PCC Hardyal Dhindsa to call a “snap” by-election

Questions were asked when Cllr Dhindsa was elected in May 2016, as the new Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC),  as to whether he would be resigning his post as Councillor for the Normanton Ward. Even though his predecessor, Alan Charles, described the workload as “full-on”, with Dhindsa as his Deputy, the new PCC felt that he could do both jobs, successfully.

As Councillor he was taking home a “salary” of just over £10k, this increased by £75k with the onset of the PCC role. As Councillor he is just responsible for the Normanton Ward, with 2 other colleagues; as PCC he covers policing for the whole of Derbyshire. This is a very wide brief, and it should not be down to bravado, personal determination and pride to decide whether the 2 can be done in tandem. Unless there are serious legal irregularities the only time that an independent view can be enforced on this situation is at election time….and, this will not be for a few years.

For some, it can be seen as a sign of weakness to accept that a seemingly excessive workload can be delivered without breaking into a sweat, or declaring defeat. In a private capacity people can do what they like; this is different – this is public office, and a sense of duty and responsibility should prevail.

For a £75k pa salary, the public should expect total commitment to that role – with little spare time. A solid, dedicated, Councillor will be absorbed on many duties and case work throughout the week; most do have additional full time jobs to balance with, but nothing with the level of public scrutiny and exposure as the PCC….and some cracks have started to emerge, and questions of conflict of interest arisen – it will only get worse.

There are no local Council elections this year in Derby, but with the General Election now being called on June 8th, the opportunity exists to exploit the administrative machinery to hold a local by-election and to address this common sense concern. It should be called – in the name of providing a better service to the Derbyshire / Normanton constitutents, not as a sense of weakness or failure, or the opportunity for political point scoring. On a personal level, over-stressing oneself, unnecessarily, with blind determination to be a success, with so much scrutiny when the workloads are”full-on” is not healthy – best to make the decision in a planned way, than to have it forced upon you…when it’s too late.

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