One in ten Glasgow councillors failed to attend more than 60% of all committee meetings they were expected at last year.

Nine out of 85 councillors had an attendance rate of 60% or below in 2020. And five of them failed to attend at more than half of the meetings they were required at.

The Glasgow Times obtained records of attendance for all 85 city councillors over the last three years.

READ MORE: How many meetings did your councillor attend? Rates for the east and north wards of Glasgow

For 2020 it showed nine were at 60% attendance or below. And over the last three years, there were three councillors who had a record below 60% in each year.
At the other end there were eight councillors who had a 100% attendance record at committee meetings in 2020.

Those who were below 60%  last year were spread across three parties and one independent.

Gary Gray, Labour councillor for Canal, attended 14 out of 40 possible meetings, 42%.

Glasgow Times:

Graham Campbell, SNP councillor for Springburn/Robroyston attended 10 out of 20. A rate of 50%

Glasgow Times:

Matt Kerr, Cardonald Labour councillor, was present at nine out of 17 meetings,  which was 53%.

Alexander Belic, Southside Central SNP councillor, was at 24 of 40, a rate of 60%.
Martha Wardrop, Green Hillhead Councillor. attended 19 out of 35, a rate of 54%.

Tanya Wisely, Green Langside, was present at 12 out of 21, a rate of 57%
Russell Robertson, independent councillor, attended three out of six, 50%.

Glasgow Times:

The Glasgow Times reported this year how the ex Labour and SNP councillor was on a pub crawl in Edinburgh when he should have been at a meeting of the full council.

Tony Curtis, ex independent councillor and former Tory attended seven out of 14 but none since July, so lost his seat for breaching attendance rules.

Glasgow Times:

Jim Coleman, ex Baillieston, Labour councillor, attended 15 out of 31 and also lost his seat after non-attendance since last March.

Glasgow Times:

Three city councillors had an attendance rate of below 60 for the last three years.

Gary Gray was present at 42%  of his committee meetings from  2018 to 2020.

Graham Campbell attended 52% and Paul Carey, Labour councillor for Drumchapel/ Anniesland was at 57% however he attended 72% in 2020.

Gary Gray said he always had a reason for not attending any meeting and said there were two main reasons, including his health.

Mr Gray said: “I find the figures surprising. I am on the licensing committee and there have been a number of occasions I was at regular hospital appointments which clashed with the committee on a Wednesday.

“Any other committees I didn’t attend I would have had something in the ward that needed attending to.  If I couldn’t make it, I would put apologies in and comment in writing on matters that were discussed. 

“My work with people in the ward comes first and that gets prioritised ahead of a committee meeting.”

Mr Gray said last year he had a stay in hospital which also affected attendance. He also said issues with the council IT equipment meant he was unable to take part in some meetings once the council switched to virtual meetings.

Mr Gray said: “If I don’t attend a meeting it doesn’t mean I’m not working one behalf of constituents. I have never missed a committee unless there was an issue in the ward that needed urgent attention. I am the first to criticize and ask questions if someone doesn’t turn up.”

Graham Campbell said he is a hardworking councillor and cited reasons outwith his control for not attending.

Mr Campbell said: “I am aware that in the first year I was a councillor, I was on the licensing committee and it clashed with other meetings.”

He also said there were IT problems last year.

He said: “In lockdown we had problems with the old tech. I couldn’t get into teams and I didn’t get my new equipment until November.

“It’s right that we are accountable to the public and they can ask how we represent them.

“Before lockdown I had weekly surgeries in the shopping centre. I was more accessible than most councillors. I consider myself a hard-working person and I take the job seriously.” 

The councillors with 100% records last year were Ken Andrew, SNP Hillhead, Chris Cunningham, SNP Scotstounhilll/Garscadden, Allan Gow, SNP Canal, Archie Graham Labour, Langside, Kenny McLean, SNP Partick East/Kelvindale, Elaine McSporran, SNP Cardonald, Robert Mooney, Labour Canal and Margaret Morgan, SNP Linn.

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “A council holds certain powers and responsibilities in law and, to all intents and purposes, the council means its elected members.

“Glasgow City Council has 85 councillors, representing 23 multi-member wards.

“While the full membership of the council does meet regularly – typically every six weeks - it delegates most decision-making either to other committees or, in some cases, to officers.

“In Glasgow, the key decision-making committee is the City Administration Committee – but others have specific roles in terms of policy development or performance scrutiny.”