Karen Constantine: District Councillor’s Report, April 2016

Case work

There are a growing numbers of enquires coming through. I make calls & emails on a daily basis and, whilst having a busy day job, I can easily ‘factor’ these in. My phone number and email are ‘out there’.

So far, I have had rubbish removed for people (very simple and straightforward and TDC very helpful). There is a joint councillors meeting, myself and Mo Leys with Madeline Homer (CEO) and we are both pushing for a bulk item refuse collection and will work together to garner community support. I will be pressing for an improved social contract in respect of the pressures of austerity, in particular, focussing  on ensuring staff delivering services are treating our ward members with dignity and responding in a timely manner.

I have a traffic issue which I am involved with KCC highways department to try to improve and to allay a ward member’s fears.

I’m supporting a ward member (or two) with mental health issues.

I have fought for a family to be rebanded to be able to bid on a bigger house from an overcrowded and poor condition house. This was successful.

I have two other families with housing issues which I am helping as their councillor.

I have been in contact with a few community groups – and have offered support. This too will be ongoing:
• Newlands Children Centre
• Newington Wellbeing Network

I have been in contact with both former councillors, the Big Local and the community centre – to no avail.

I have run three surgeries from the Labour Office and have alerted local groups (with differing success) as to this, with dates and how to contact me.

There are two serious employment issues that I am dealing with (with Simon Warley).   These are in play, but amount to an illegal deduction from wages. It is possible that both these cases could require funding to go to tribunal and we would seek support (crowdfunding) to fund these as minimum cost would be £250 to file.


I am aware that we haven’t yet delivered a ward newsletter. But this will be done and hopefully will be a joint one.

Other duties

Some of you will be aware that I have handed over my Trade Union Liaison Officer (TULO) duties, that I post updates regularly and also run the Thanet Fabians and am involved in the ‘IN’ campaign. All of this is commensurate with being a councillor. It has to be balanced with full time work and family commitments.

I have attended one full council meeting (2 further ones clashed with pre booked activities, including graduation from my Harvard course and a holiday booked prior to the by-election). I have attended several briefing and cabinet and keep in touch and respond to issues as they arise as part of the Labour group.  I have also taken in a committee and press officer for the group.

I have had an article published in the national Fabian magazine.

Letter to Craig Mackinlay

Below is my latest letter which has been sent to the Thanet Gazette:

Does our MP, Craig Mackinlay, have double standards? When we asked him to get involved and offer support for the workers at the Royal School for the Deaf at our meeting with him on Dec 12th, he simply shrugged his shoulders and said it was Roger Gale’s ( MP Thanet North ) responsibility. But he suddenly finds himself in the media spot light on TV discussing the issues at the at said school – maybe only because of the media profile.

I’d like to know, since he has been elected:

• What action has he taken to ensure maximum support for all those staff that lost their jobs and those in the supply chain at the Royal School for the Deaf, Cummings Ltd and Kent potatoes? Where hundreds of jobs have been lost.

•What will he do about the very many employees that have been in contact with me that don’t have proper contracts of employment and therefore never know where they stand?

•What about hard working local workers that don’t receive holiday pay, dispute a legal entitlement to do so?

•What about those local workers who are sick – but have employers that arbitrarily and illegally deny much needed sick pay?

• What about those local employees who are denied wages and give sub standard ‘lodgings’ instead.

• What about the young workers who watch their employers pocket the tips that were given to them by grateful customers pleased with receiving good service?

•What advice and media interest will Craig bring to bare on those local workers who are even too afraid to say who their employers are when they come to me for advice and they are afeared of retribution.

Are we happy with a local MP that appears to cherry pick his case work?