Three Brighton and Hove politicians shortlisted for councillor of the year at national awards

Posted On 24 Oct 2021 at 12:01 am

Three councillors from Brighton and Hove have been shortlisted for national awards out of more than 400 nominations.

Councillor Bridget Fishleigh

Bridget Fishleigh, the only serving councillor to have been elected as an independent, has been shortlisted for the Community Champion award.

Green councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty has been shortlisted for the Leader of the Year award.

And a second Green councillor, Amy Heley, has been shortlisted for Young Councillor of the Year.

The organisers said: “Community involvement is essential to ensuring that the council takes the right decisions for its citizens.

“Effective councils will have many mechanisms to inform, consult and involve local people in the business of the council, and elected members are at the heart of this dialogue.

“The community champion of the year will have worked tirelessly to use their position within the council to bring residents’ voices into council decision-making, support their projects and ideas and bridge diverse opinions within the community.”

Jon Ray, who chairs the Saltdean Residents’ Association, said: “It’s wonderful that Bridget’s hard work has been recognised at a national level.

“In the two and a half years since she was elected, Bridget has instigated a whole raft of improvements to the infrastructure and facilities in our area.

“She also ran a food bank from her own home throughout the pandemic. No fuss or drama. She just got on with meeting the need in our community.

“Bridget is also a staunch supporter of the Saltdean Residents’ Association, helping me to get things done for residents, building an essential bridge between the association and the city council.”

Councillor Fishleigh said: “Of course, it’s lovely to be nominated and proves that you don’t need a political establishment behind you to be an effective councillor.

“The political councillors have already started preparing for the May 2023 local elections.

“I hope that more people like me – who will put the city’s needs above party dogma – might consider standing. I’d be happy to discuss the process with anyone who is interested in stepping up.

“It would be really fab if other people step up and do their civic duty. Their city needs them.”

Councillor Amy Heley

The organisers said: “Councillor Amy Heley is a Green Party councillor in Preston Park ward, Brighton and Hove.

“Since August 2020 she has been the chair of the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee.

“In this role, Amy has focused on pushing for climate action and clean air, from projects such as proposing an expanded Ultra Low Emission Zone, increased pedestrianisation of the city centre, implementing new active travel infrastructure and school streets across the city and protecting and improving parks and green spaces.”

Councillor Mac Cafferty is one of six people on the shortlist for Leader of the Year. The organisers said: “Effective leaders will be skilled in drawing together diverse views and working across party political lines to ensure all residents’ views are reflected in council policies.

“They are able to oversee the day-to-day operations to ensure the council is acting responsibly, legally and in line with political priorities, and must nurture healthy working relationships with councillors, colleagues and officers.

“As the public face of the council, leaders will have strong relationships with community groups and put residents at the heart of what they do.

“They will be prepared to answer the difficult questions and ensure that they are held accountable for decisions that are made.”

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty

The awards are in their 12th year and are organised by the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) and the specialist fund manager CCLA.

LGIU chief executive Jonathan Carr-West said: “This year’s councillor awards shortlist showcases the best of local government.

“During a time when they have experienced unprecedented challenges and pressure, these councillors are true champions for local government and their communities.

“The last year has reminded each and every one of us of the effort and lengths to which councillors go to support their citizens.

“As such, we were overwhelmed by powerful stories and experiences coming through the over 400 nominations received for councillors across England and Wales.

“Our most sincere congratulations to all of those councillors shortlisted. We look forward to unveiling the winners on Wednesday 1 December.”

  1. Adam Reply

    Phelim and Heley up for awards? ………falls down laughing, you could not make it up.

    • GE Keys Reply

      You can tell they are bogus awards. And why should anyone receive an award for being ‘young’ ffs? How does her age make Heley worthy of an award exactly? And her with a live petition demanding her resignation for misconduct! As for Phelim, presumably this is for his services to BoJo, telling him how to run a pandemic and where he was doing it all wrong! It’s certainly not for his services to the city!!!

  2. Billy Reply

    Surely this is a joke?
    This is the worst council we have seen in a generation.

  3. fed-up with brighton politics Reply

    Leaving aside Cllr Fishleigh, who thoroughly deserves recognition and actually fits the criteria for the relevant award, the shortlisting of the other two devalues the entire credibility of these awards and is an insult to other people on the shortlists who may well be deserving and worthy. You have to wonder who nominated MacCafferty and Heley (probably the same person who wrote Phelim’s highly flattering Wikipedia entry – or maybe they nominated each other). The judges, whoever they may be, need to get out and about, see the results of the Greens’ fine agenda and talk to some locals.

    Again excluding Cllr Fishleigh, I thought it must be April 1st.

  4. Jason T Reply

    On what basis and by who were these nominations made? Are they not aware of how badly the city has been run by Phelim and the Greens generally. The basic services, street cleaning, graffiti removal etc are the worst they have ever been and that is just a fact.

  5. Chaz. Reply

    How do they get nominated?
    Quite incredible.

    But if you want to be recognised for running the worst council in Brighton, Phelim and Amy are way up there.
    Maybe it is a new category they are nominated for?

    Well done Bridget, thoroughly well deserved.

  6. Hove Guy Reply

    Cllrs Mc Cafferty and Heley? It defies credibility. What an insult to the ratepayers of Brighton and Hove. I have lived here all my life and this is, by far, the most incompetent coundil I have ever known.

  7. fed-up with brighton politics Reply

    Apparently, anyone can nominate councillors for these awards. Presumably the judges then draw up the shortlists according to what the nominator has written on the form or whatever has to be submitted. That does seem to suggest that the claims made are not checked out ‘on the ground’ thoroughly in the preliminary stages. Hopefully further investigation is carried out between the shortlist stage and announcement of the winners. If MacCafferty and Heley actually win, then the City will be even more of a laughing stock than it is already.

  8. Hove Guy Reply

    “LGIU chief executive Jonathan Carr-West said: “This year’s councillor awards shortlist showcases the best of local government.”
    Heaven help us if this is regarded as the best.

  9. Martha Gunn Reply

    In more than fifty years involvement in local politics I have never come across someone so totally unsuited to any role whatsoever in public life as Councillor Heley.
    This is a joke in exceptionally bad taste.

  10. fed-up with brighton politics Reply

    Sounds like a paper-based exercise by LIGU. Any fan of a particular councillor can make him or her sound good on paper, but the claims need to be checked out – i.e. has the candidate actually delivered on any of the stuff described in the nomination. We all know the answer in the case of MacCafferty and Heley.

  11. Ion Reply

    Self appreciation society awards

  12. STEVEN mack Reply

    These awards are obviously meaningless as the councillors of Brighton have actually made the lives of residents worse

  13. Gill Hart Reply

    I have moved out of Brighton so pleased I did. It looks so dirty and run down it had so many things going for it but now nothing. The bin men on strike okay they have just gone back, how many times have they had to do This? Covid is very high and the number if people that are not had their jabs is higher in their wards than others. Bring back people who care about Brighton and not just to make a name for themselves

  14. Tom Houlbrook Reply

    All the comments so far echo my own view also that the nomination of Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty is laughable

  15. Paul Temple Reply

    Cllr Fishleigh utterly deserves recognition an outstanding indy councilor who actually represents her ward without influence from party politics.

    What has Phelim actually done? And as for Cllr Heley if Chairing a meeting means steering conversation and debate the way you want it plus being petulant and aggressive she deserves the award.

  16. fed-up with brighton politics Reply

    Well said, Paul!

  17. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    Did nobody nominate cllr Janio?

    • Peter Challis Reply

      Perhaps other councillors are not so interested in furthering their political careers as Green Party Councillors with no other jobs?

      Phelim obviously sees himself as MP material – after all he stood as candidate for Hove and Portslade, regularly writes to the PM expressing his views on how the country should be run.

      Shouty Amy managed to get herself the dedicated role of chair of the ETS committee so that she got all the expenses, and doesn’t have to work to fund her masters.

      Neither of these seem to have any experience of working for successful, profitable businesses; are both seemingly ignorant of STEM subjects; but obviously think themselves so bright and clever that they can command the residents and ignore any dissention or contrary views.

      Their negotiation skills are almost non-existent as we saw the Green Party’s French councillor Tom Druitt to come to the rescue.

      As you are fictional literary expert of some renown, did you help write the nominations for Phelim and Amy? 🤭

  18. fed-up with brighton politics Reply

    Possibly a nomination by the Hedgehog Preservation Society?

    • Christopher Hawtree Reply

      They are both prickly characters!

  19. Hove Guy Reply

    Amazing! Allow this city to become the biggest dump on the South Coast, and you get nominated for an award by LGIU.

  20. Catherine Reply

    They deserve it. Congrats all. Dealt well with the bin crisis and helping make our city green and peaceful. A place for the soul

    • Hove Guy Reply

      And do you call a city loaded with graffiti, weeds growing dangerously, rubbish everywhere (even before the bin strike), drug dealing on a massive scale, beggars everywhere, a high crime rate, empty shops, confusing traffic layout, nowhere near enough toilet accomodation, (with thosse that are available left in a terrible state), green and peaceful? As for their dealng well with the bin crisis, have you been going around with your eyes closed?

  21. Dbar Reply

    These nominations only serve to highlight how totally oblivious anyone who works in local council leadership really are to the real world. Surely the nominations should be put forward by residents and not by local council spin doctors? Doubt Phlegm or Healey would have made the cut

  22. MikeyA Reply

    One has to wonder how low the criteria must be for any of these to be nominated!

  23. Austin Reply

    The grinning jackass and the clueless, unskilled, petulant schoolgirl. I suspect the irony is lost on everyone. If this is the best on offer, what does it say about the rest?

  24. Greens Out Reply

    Believe it or not this quote isn’t about BHCC!
    Could do easily be though!

    It’s actually from Middlesborough’s mayor. Really does sum up our own rag-tag collection of self serving councillors.

    “Mr Preston, who is politically independent, said: “There are some brilliant councillors here but there are also way too many self-obsessed, selfish and frankly not very bright people who seek to cause trouble for the good of their own self-promotion.”

  25. fed-up with brighton politics Reply

    Some man who now appears to be the joint leader of the Green party in England and Wales (name of Adrian Ramsay, and I doubt that anyone outside of the Green party has ever heard of him – they do like joint roles, don’t they, as if they could never cope on their own – the other person is a Carla Denyer of Bristol – again unknown to most of us) is reported by the BBC to have said that the Brighton bin strike is all the result of lack of government funding. Easy to blame the government – and that would probably include any flavour of government apart from Green. So their answer appears to be to bung this woeful Green council millions to sort out the basic service of refuse/recycling efficiently, which they wouldn’t do, spending the money on some other loony project.

    This just shows how naive and useless Greens are, and heaven knows how they have managed to take over B&H. The bottom line is that this council has basic funding for core statutory services and chooses to spray it about incompetently on other non-core things.

    I am inviting comments as to how it is that, unlike all other local authorities in England (let’s not mention Scotland, which is another issue altogether), B&H ends up with a Green MP for Pavilion with a massive majority (the Lone Ranger of Parliament) and a Green council, when the previous Green council was a total failure and got well and truly thumped after their last abject performance.

    Just asking, as they say.

    However, if anyone comments pro-Green on this post, it would be died-in-the-wool delusional Greens, or regular poster Catherine who sees none of the chaos and thinks everything is solved by ‘mindfulness’, green tea and candles, or someone equally deluded.

  26. BAHTAG Reply

    Firstly let’s all be aware that it’s City taxpayers money which pays for the Council’s subscriptions to the LGA + its LGIU!

    An expense which, over the years, various of our Councillors have said we should end (apparently the constant flood of information from the LGIU is too tedious for some to read!).

    And then there’s the vital difference between ‘nomination’ and ‘short-listed’.

    In reality the nominations of Cllrs MacCafferty and Heley were most likely created by a City Council officer (at taxpayers expense!).

    Ostensibly with the intention of publicising B&H, but rather more cynically with the expectation, by some Council Officers, of embarrassing and discrediting the Green group!

    At the Green’s electoral victory in 2011 outgoing Conservatives were noble enough to warn the Greens to watch out for the constant attempts at embarrassment and sabotage which the Tories had been subjected to by Council officers during the four previous years of that Conservative administration.

    OK, the Tories had not been heroes, particularly with regard to the crazy snake-oil nonsense of an over-hyped Frank Gehry + Karis re-development of the King Alfred!

    But the Tories also made the most progress of any Administration so far in ending mis-management and money-wasting by Council officers! Such as combing through council records to end the ongoing payment of insurance and/or of road-tax on council vehicles which had either already been sold-off, or were parked-up waiting to be sold or scrapped!

    And many more other worthwhile savings, and/or criticism of the ways Council officers were not working well!

    But, as we see from multiple CityClean and other debacles, neither the Greens nor Labour have since deployed the cojones needed since 1997 to build a Town Hall team for our City at least as professional and competent as that of the previous fairly-excellent (and humane!) Hove Borough Council!

    So in 2011 it only took a few months for Council officers to ‘capture’ the Green’s inner circle; mainly by ‘false flattery’, just as the Greens had been warned against on their victory-day at the election count in 2011!

    Indeed to such an extent that some of the back-bencher Green councillors tried a coup, to replace the disgraced/disgraceful Convenor Kitcat, by one Phélim MacCafferty!

    Disgraced? For starters the financial lunacy of the i360! And then the even greater financial debacle of the transfer of 499 Council dwellings to the unaccountable Council-sponsored Seaside Comminity Homes, in a financial scandal, yet to fully-emerge, for give-away prices, and in contradiction of almost every condition which the Policy & Resources Committee had imposed when giving Council officers permission to proceed. In a deal which continues to provide Banco Santander with fat profits every year (at a significant cost to all City taxpayers!) and which, shame on the Greens, deprives 499 homeless local people of the chance of a secure and affordable Council house!

    With the allocation of any of these present 499 homes being a totally and inexcusably secretive process!

    But back to the LGIU. Hopefully a tech-savvy local resident will be able to send a video of Cllr Heley’s inexcusably dictatorial and undemocratic ‘chairing’ of the Environment Committee meetings, particularly when the OSR cycle-lane was supposed to be being debated?

    And perhaps also a print of this article, and of all the comments appended to it?

    And as for Councillor MacCafferty? Hopefully the national Green Party leadership will persuade him to ask that his nomination be withdrawn, to avoid broad embarrassment to the Party. And particularly on the consideration that the Greens are a MINORITY administration in our City, and because all concerned (including a majority of City electors) voted to support the Green’s own proposal, from their decent former Councillor Keith Taylor, to retain the least-worst committee-system for decision making in our City.

    Thus NO Green councillor currently ‘runs’ our City!

    Leading Greens chair the Council’s committees (but only by tradition, in theory the Councillor members of a committee could vote to appoint a Chairperson of any other Party sitting on that Committee to be the Chairperson!), and thus their only ‘power’ to personally run anything is if or when a majority of Committee members have formally voted to give their Chairperson any such specific powers.

    There does not appear to be any formal record of any such powers having been granted to those senior Greens who participated in ‘negotiations’ between council officers and the GMB union over the CityClean driver’s strike.

    Those negotiations are/were the duty of the Council’s top officers (whose comfortable salaries are paid out of our taxes!), so hopefully the central Green Party leadership will censure those City councillors for undermining the democratic structure of our Council, by micro-managing the work of the paid Council staff, and by having done so without first having obtained specific
    permission to do so by a democratic majority committee vote!

    And perhaps the same tech-savvy person might be able to send the LGIU some videos of Councillor Fishleigh’s excellent work on the Planning Committee?

    The only committee which she, as a real elected Independent, is permitted to serve on. And since the Greens have long called for some kind of a proportional electoral system perhaps it’s time for them to propose an upgrade to our Council’s Constitution, to arrange for at least one voting place on any executive committee for any Independent councillor wishing to take on such a position (with selection by public throw of the dice if more than one Independent wishes to sit on a given committee?).

    So wishing Councillor Fishleigh the very best of luck in what looks to be a stitch-up by the unaccountable LGIU!

  27. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    The Argus had a version of this story today, with the most appalling reader’s comment I have ever seen there (which is saying something).

    Remonstrations have been made, and all the comments have been removed.

    As one resident said to me today when I showed it to her, “we’re asked to support the local press – and the Argus prints that filth!”

    I always say to residents that it is far better to read this site than the Argus.

    • Martha Gunn Reply

      Can I agree with Christopher.
      I will not relent from my efforts to have Cllr Heley removed from public office – she is a disgrace.
      However the public comments in the Argus today were beyond disgusting.

  28. fed-up with brighton politics Reply

    I too saw the Argus filth, which had not, when I saw it, been deleted/removed, but it was allowed to be seen, which should not have happened. I was shocked that it ever got published and I am very glad it has been removed now.

    No matter what you think of anyone, or a particular councillor or committee chair (and I am a million miles away from a fan of the person in question, but I would never stoop anywhere that low and nor would the overwhelming majority of B&H News readers), foul-mouthed, misogynistic, completely out-of-order personal comments like that should never have seen the light of day in the first place and, to my mind, that says everything about the lack of decency and standards of the Argus.

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