Student puts councillors on the spot

A student with ambitions to become a political journalist got the opportunity to grill the Leader of Malvern Hills District Council and his deputy as part of Local Democracy Week.

Tom Maiden, a 17-year-old Worcester Sixth Form student, took part in the Ask the Leader session during his week’s work experience with the council.

He put Council Leader Phil Grove and Deputy Council Leader David Chambers on the spot over leisure provision for young people, the local economy and what they were doing to encourage more young people to vote in district council elections.

Both councillors were given 45 seconds to respond to each question and their answers can be seen in a special video of the session available on the council’s social media accounts.

During the week Tom also got the opportunity to write a newsletter and press release, research and plan a ‘meet your council day’ and learn how a by-election is arranged.

Malvern Hills District Council has committed to creating 100 new school work experience placements as part of its five year plan. The council is also working on improving the way it engages and consults with young people and residents in general.

As well as making greater use of social media and attending schools and events to meet residents, the idea of creating a district youth forum is also being considered.

Cllr Phil Grove, Leader of Malvern Hills District Council, said: “I was very impressed with Tom’s questioning technique and the issues he raised. Giving young people the opportunity to experience the world of work is important to us and I hope this has helped inspire Tom to follow his ambitions.

“We’ve been working hard on improving the way we engage with residents of all ages through our Meet Your Council programme, five year plan consultation and activities we are running as part of Local

Democracy Week to name a few. The views of the public are important as they help ensure we’re focusing our efforts on the areas that matter to them.”

Tom’s interview with Cllr Grove and Cllr Chambers is available to view online at or visit the Malvern Hills District Council Facebook and Twitter accounts.