It is just over a year since I was elected as the Member of Parliament for Croydon Central. I have decided to take the rather-unusual-for-an-MP step of writing to the people I work for - the 80,000 odd people on the electoral register in Croydon Central - to ask how they think I am doing. The first surveys landed on doorsteps on Saturday and the rest will be going out gradually during July so that I am not overwhelmed by the response and can read and personally reply to each one.
I’ve certainly worked hard over the last 14 months.
Most of the time, I have supported the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Government and our Conservative Council - as you would expect me to do, having been elected as a Conservative. But when I think they have got something wrong, I have been prepared to say so - and sometimes I have been able to get them to change their minds, getting the Council to drop their plans to extend parking restrictions in parts of Addiscombe, Park Hill and South Croydon for example.
I’ve helped hundreds of people who have contacted me with problems and I’ve tried to do practical things to make Croydon a better place to live, including setting up a team of volunteers who help keep our parks and open spaces clean and forming a Job Club to help people get back into work.
I knock on doors to ask people their concerns. I deliver leaflets and write a weekly column in The Advertiser Midweek to let people know what I am doing. For those who prefer to get information online, I write this blog, tweet at www.twitter.com/gavinbarwellmp and send out an email bulletin to those who have given me their email address. Every few months, I meet with all the Residents’ Association Chairmen in the constituency. And when Parliament isn’t sitting, I work in local public services and businesses (so far, I’ve spent time at Croydon University Hospital, Benson School, Marks & Spencer and Croydon Jobcentre Plus).
Finally, I’ve worked hard to try to restore some faith in politics after the expenses scandal. I’ve kept my promises not to have a second home in Westminster, not to employ any family members and to publish all my expense claims and the supporting receipts and my diary on my website.
I hope you feel I've done a good job but either way I am interested in how you think I could do better. I look forward to hearing from you.