Subj:RE: Exit Interview
Date:18/12/2002 14:09:31 GMT Standard Time
Well said Chris. This is a serious problem that faces Local
Government. Our Local Plan people recently published an important document,
arranged a press meeting - none of them turned up! Many of the Local Parish
councils did not respond to the document either, even after great
encouragement and not so subtle hints at the importance of it.
Probably because the PC saw little in it for them. If it was a proposed
motorway through their parish then things would be different.
You can't force people to respond. Every time you make a
TPO you know the owner will object and everyone is upset that we are
on that poor individual. If we had let the tree be felled 10 phone calls
complaint tell you what the really popular decision is.
As a matter of interest what would you do if the landowner felled the tree
without asking? Would he be subject to the full weight of the law? People
often don't comment because they don't see the point. They regard
consultation as something the LA has to do. A mere cosmetic exercise because
minds have already been made up and the LA will do what it wants regardless
of the comments. By the time the elections come around everyone will have
But can you get
people to write in with their support! Rarely. If people are unhappy they
may be unhappy enough to physically object. If people are happy they think
'what's the point its all in hand'. But we focus on the few who write in.
In fairness people are entitled to expect you to do your job properly. The
public rarely express gratitude.
ME, if people realised that LA staff actually took notice of their letters
then the position would be different. I recently wrote to the LA about
something. No answer. I wrote to the dept head. Again no answer. I then
wrote to the CE. That certainly produced action and the relevant people so
eager to please that it was embarrassing. Being persistent does produce
results. In my case, the objection was the lack of response rather than the
specific issue, but it took the CE to appreciate that as a council taxpayer I
have a RIGHT to expect a response to a reasonable request put in a reasonable
way. One can only assume that the others concerned thought that is they
ignored me I would just go away. Despite what the reasons were (which may
have been true), after the event they just sound like excuses.
Surely this issue of consultation response is linked to low
election turnout - especially at a Local level. Apathy is not a full
explanation some of the most unhappy do not vote either. We need to look
better ways of engaging the public.
People see politics as a national thing. They do not think that PCs have
much influence (which is probably true). PCs don't have a lot of power, even
over local matters that affect their community. LAs don't want them to have
too much power because if the PC did it then who needs the LA, and those who
work for it? I realise that is simplistic, and I am not really suggesting
that you do not need LAs or their staff, but it is what people think. The
worst offenders are business people who think they know how it should be
done. Most do not have to work within the constraints of a LA officer. A
small business, say with 20 staff, is tiny compared to even a small LA.
> Better known as NIMBYism. It would be interesting to know
> presented your proposals. Speaking personally, I think
> written plan with reasons, sent to those concerned, or
> parish council, and requesting WRITTEN submissions, is the
> Making the public do some work and to have to go to some
> soon sort the men from the boys. Allowing verbal comments
> gets a knee jerk reaction and lets the vocal minority have
This may be a useful way of 'sorting the men from the boys',
we have a duty to consult the boys as well? Possibly your
would lead to good quality responses without excluding
anyone in rural
Herefordshire / Worcstershire (sorry, can't remember which
side of the
border you are). But in inner city Nottingham it would be
unacceptable on equal opportunity grounds. We need to be
seen to be
offering the chance to respond to all sections of the
including those with literacy problems, impaired vision or
language is not English. To that end the proposals must be
an accessible form and we must be prepared to accept
whatever form residents find it easiest.
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