An Essex newspaper has made local councillors the subject of a Top Trumps themed card game to show which councillors work hardest in its community.
The Brentwood Gazette published 37 playing cards in Wednesday’s edition detailing vital statistics such as how much case work each councillor has performed, their council meeting attendance and allowance.
The weekly title ran a front page article and double page investigation by reporter Iain Johnson, and a centre spread of ‘Top Toilers’ cards for readers to cut out and play at home, created by design-guru Alex Leys.
This most recent article delved into the amount of case work each councillor has recorded since the last elections.
It followed heavy criticism from the council leader, certain councillors and their supporters who responded to an earlier expose by the paper which revealed how long, in minutes, each member had spoken in the chamber in the last six months, and their attendance at meetings.
One ward member hadn’t uttered a single word in a meeting in that time, and many others had barely opened their mouths to contribute to debate or represent their electorate.
Gazette editor Nev Wilson said: “Despite the moans and groans, councillors have, it seems, taken our findings seriously. Attendance has improved considerably and members have been falling over themselves to have their say at meetings since our article was published.
“But after each story, the excuse that the complete picture was not provided was hurriedly trotted out from the town hall.
“This week, following more figures prized from our “open and transparent” borough council through the Freedom of Information Act, we really have put the power in the hands of the public.
“Our fun approach based on the classic card game allows taxpayers to see for themselves just how hard their elected representatives are working for them.
He added: “We’ve already cut out, mounted and created our own set of cards for the office, which we’ve been playing this morning.”