08 June 2009

For Darra, and all of the many people at Ealing Council.

So i'm afraid not quite the 10 page 12 size font essay that you originally asked for. And again not handed in on the Monday (however i am writing it even after much interference from the parents) My excuse i am a teenager!

Firstly i would like to thank you and Louisa for the wonderful three days and for taking time to organize a big array or things for me to experience i am very grateful and had a really exceptional time and have learnt a hell or a lot about things i knew nothing about.

I would also like to say thank you to Paul Jeffries, Christina MIchael, Linda Zimmerman, Cllr John Popham, Veronica Meehan, Robyn Hovish, Hataishi Vaghela, Victoria Cannizzaro, Natalie pace and all of the Crime prevention unit and the CCTV guys and also the many great people on the switchboard who let me listen to them at work. Sorry to say that many names i forgot but everyone i met at the Town Hall and through all the tours i was given thank you. You made my days there very enjoyable.

So for all of you who have no idea what i am on about, I, Caitlin Kobrak, when on a three day work shadowing experience at Ealing Council on Monday 1st, Tuesday 2nd and Thursday the 4th of June. Primarily for an insight to learn about local councils and there set up in politics and also to see what Darra (my godfather) actually does. But through this experience i also found out how important all the different aspects of the council is and also how a power cut can totally mess up everything.

On Monday i went over to the Town Hall and learnt all about the work of Councillors and their advisers. I learnt about the way Ealing is split up in to 24 wards and how there is a staggering 69 Councillors plus how the conservative party are the ones in cabinet. I met and talked with Councillor John Popham who told me that as the chief whip it was his job to keep everyone in control. Linda ZImmerman explained her job of taking down the minuets and Christina very kindly explained all the jobs she had to do, for example getting al the 69 councillors set up with Internet so that they could check emails at home and how when ever someone is sick they have to have a "MEETING" the next day to see if they are OK, However the first time she said that i thought it was because they had done something terribly wrong. I think a meeting would put of any cold or illness i may have had coming on. Paul Jeffries showed me to where they were counting the postal votes (which i went round three times in total and Darra also needed to check up n everything) in the Victoria hall and also where they have the meetings between all 69 councillors and i have to say that is one very impressive room, very traditional.

The second time i went to the Victoria hall i watched them scan the signatures into the computer as manually check that they were the same on the ballot paper as they were to when then asked to be sent the ballot paper by post. They only check the ones that the computer can't and that was very interesting because i saw that three had to be rejected when one signature was totally different and someone had got their own birthday wrong. If you didn't already know it's because they need to stop any type of fraud. I must say to anyone that did counting for the euro election WELL DONE because it is no fun job!

Veronica Meeham and her team work on the Events team which Darra arranged for me because event management is something i am thinking of studying at university. This was very interesting because i was shown where the Ealing summer festival will take place and where everything is going to be placed, which i have to say will look amazing :) I am really grateful for all the useful information you gave me about where to study and what it is you actually do. Robyn Hovish who worked on the marketing side (and still does) explained what it is that she had to do and let me edit and paste some information from more update resources to the template that would update the website, that was a very interesting and fun task. Hopefully it wasn't too wrong. And please follow her twitter account for this festival. _____________

Did i mention that for the Monday i ahd to get up at 5.30 am to arrive in the office (god i sound very professional) for 8.00am i was a very tired bunny by the end of the day. Thank you to Monica who helped my find my work dress for the next day and for feeding me and letting me stay over. I had fun watching the Devil Wears Prada with you and Siena :)

On Tuesday i had a fantastic time in the somuchlikeinthebill CCTV room where i was able to see just what the many cameras do. A lot of people have strong views of how CCTV does not allow privacy and how we are all being followed and recorded at all times but after going around this room and meeting the people who worked here i can tell you that these people are FUCKING AMAZING (please excuse my language) This CCTV room is for public protection, so protecting the public and helping the police catch criminals who damage that idea of safety. One camera that i was shown is able to zoom, with fantastic quality) up t something crazy like 5 miles!!!!!!! We were also shown some videos that were shown to the police in events of crime where we saw three men steal an old guys credit card and get his pin number down, but luckily through the CCTV and the fact they could zoom on the men's faces they were able to catch them. Another video me and Louisa saw was involving a group of drunk guys getting into the faces of bouncers who then retaliated by getting a baseball bat and hitting the men with it. Even though that is wrong in so many ways, but one bouncer who was not involved got the bat of one man and even flagged down the police in an attempt to stop it got arrested and it was through the CCTC they were able to say it as not him and get the real culprits arrested. I have to say it was one of my favourite parts of my three days because i have never seen anything like it and it really really interested me.

Hitaishi Vaghela was also very very nice as she explained in a lot of detail what her job in the Labour part of the council was as how as a resident or Ealing is something wasn't being done but the conservative party or by the council there is another way of getting you issue across and that is by finding out who you councillor or ealing is because with 69 there is a lot. Then you get in contact with them and they are able to go straight to the top as say " soandso has been phoning in about noise problems on their street and they have phoned in three time in the last two weeks but nothing has been done, please can you look at it asap" and most time the problem get solved :) They talk straight to the bosses of each area. Hitaishi explained in even more detail the wards in ealing and how there are Three MPS for all or ealing and where on the website you can find this out. So head over to the EALING WEBSITE for more information :)

Victoria Cannizzaro was great in letting me do some work, as you can tell most of the time i listened to people talk and really just had fun gathering information. I wrote bullet points on case studies about playgrounds around England that involved free/unstructured play, natural play and inner city playgrounds. It may not sound like the most interesting thing but actually i really enjoyed being put to good use and it made me want to be a kid again to use some of these spectacular playgrounds. While was writing this i went to a Housing Meeting that was inevitably very boring in context but it was the first time i have ever and i mean ever seen Darra been that, lets say, forceful :) It was interesting to see how the meetings take place and how real people work!!

After all the work i Had to do being finished i went to my first ever CABINET MEETING which is in reality not at all interesting, i did like seeing what they all do and the lightheartedness of the conversations between members was really nice because naively i thought they would all have to be very serious. I was i have to admit glad when it was over, but thank you for letting me go.

WEDNESDAY I HAD TO HAND PHOTOGRAPHY IN that is why i wasn't at Ealing!!!!!

On Thursday however i was driven round in a chauffeur driven Jaguar, The mayor's car to be exact. Thank you Darra for this wonderful experience that i am applying to the way i am driven around at home. The door has to be open for me now by someone else before i step out of the car!! So on Thursday i went round the Polling stations which i announced of facebook in which quite a few people took interest in :) This was very enjoyable because being just 16 i have not yet voted and the last time i entered a poling station was when i was in primary school and mum or dad had to vote. They were not what i had expected them to be like.

Along with the high life or things being done for me i went down to the switchboard where i was able to listen in to people calling up about the Elections and Environment issues. One of the callers said something like this:

Caller: i would like to be put on the electoral register not because i want to vote but because i can't get a loan unless i am on it. But the thing is i haven't voted since i was 18 so i don't care about all that, in my opinion all governments are the same.

I liked this guy he has his own views and really stuck to them :) The hour or so i was with them gave me a lot of respect to what they do because they are the butt of peoples anger even though they don't actually fulfill the tasks just register them to the sector of the council. And they are all really nice people. Next time i ring the Council over why i can't knock down all the other houses in my street and build a massive house with 2000 bedrooms just for me to live in i will remember to be much more kinder.

I also went and met the members of the crime prevention unit (is that what is was called?) on Thursday who were all really really really nice and friendly. I would just like to say to Chris (i think that was his name) that my family love the tomato soup tin :) and the bells for the purse is a big hit with my mum. So thank you for the pack. Also Natalie all the information you have given me is really interesting, however i would be lying if i said i had finished it all. But really thank you as i learnt allot and the information on domestic violence has been very useful.

So there you are a summery, a very long one at that, of a great three days. Darra i wrote it!!

SO AGAIN A MASSIVE BIG THANK YOU. and i would just like to say it has taken me and hour and a half to write this and i missed the last episode of Ashes to Ashes so you had better or read it Darra!!!!!


1 comment:

  1. Bloody hell, Kobbers, that's a frickin' essay there! Looks like you had fun! x


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