Useful tips to consider…
“I write it all down – at least then I know who said what to who – and what I agreed to do.”
It is inevitable that you will feel overloaded with information so getting your information organised early is a great idea. Here’s some tips about keeping track of it all from experienced councillors. Ask around – experienced councillors you respect will have some good ideas too.
- Make up a ‘to do’ list at the beginning of each week and review it as you go, ticking things off as you do them
- Keep an appointments diary – preferably electronic. Mistakes happen when you keep more than one diary. But if you do keep a hard copy diary, write things down in pencil, so you can easily and neatly change things as your plans change. Keep your diary (or diaries) up to date!
- Keep a notebook (or tablet if provided by council) where you write down notes of all the meetings you go to – with a date at the top of each page and a new page for each meeting – you will then have a record of the tasks that are to be done and who has said they’d do these tasks
- Organise a filing system – make sure your electronic filing is consistent with your hard copy filing. Keep individual files for each issue you’re involved in and store copies of letters, notes, emails, telephone discussions and notices in the electronic or hard copy file according to date order
- Keep a record (in your files) of any written contact you have with a constituent. If there’s a complaint don’t put the file away till you’ve dealt with it and keep details on what you’ve done, keeping constituents informed about progress on their enquiry
- Remember that keeping a record of your finances is also very important – including a car logbook and all other car expenses – these may be able to be claimed as a tax deduction
- Learn how to use electronic tools and make good use of them