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Sep 14 2012

Harrow Council Promises to Spend More Money on Toys

We often publish Harrow Council’s press releases in full – they’re usually useful, well written and need little or no editorial to make them clear.  Today’s PR spiel takes a little deciphering, as it opens with:

“Harrow Council will become the first local authority in the country to use cutting-edge technology to fully merge on-street based environmental services…”

You may have had to read that a couple of times: “...on-street based environmental services…” indeed. What they mean is that council employee’s who are usually out and about – street cleaners, parking enforcement officers, men looking for potholes, men fixing potholes (well, maybe not that one) – will have a new, technological whizzy gadget, the iPad being the toy-of-choice these days – so that they can snap a picture, press a button, and it’ll get sent – perhaps via a third-world company to type into words what the fault is – back to the council. Whether or not they’ll ignore it (which seems to be precisely their default action unless you copy in your Councillor, local neighbourhood champion, or the leader of the council himself), add it to a huge long list which will never see the light of day, or despatch someone to fix it, remains to be seen.

They then go on to say, “...the proposed model would bring savings of £1.8million by 2015…” which might seem a bit disingenuous, as they don’t actually say where or how those savings would be made: redundancies? that mythical plan of getting the left hand to know what the right had is doing? the nirvana of planning work so that it’s done by the most efficient and effective methods? rubbing the lamp and asking the genie? (okay, we made that last one up).

It’s always good to see the council trying to get into the 21st century, but perhaps if they were more responsive to residents reporting faults (ie: they fixed them, or even bothered to respond), perhaps they might have had some 210,000 people will to report faults – and not a single iPad needed.

You can read the full press release here.

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