Back in the local elections, three plus months ago (was it really only three months ago?) one of the chief criticisms I had of Wokingham Borough Council’s new waste collection scheme was that it was a profound change to the system, and it had been done completely without consultation.
Well, it seems that the council are somewhat belatedly running just such a consultation. Sort of.
A thirty-four question online survey inquiring as to residents thoughts, opinion, and experiences of the new waste collection scheme has appeared, introducing itself with the line:
“…the Council would like to know your views about how the scheme is working and whether it is delivering on its intended improvements.“
And about time two. Except…good luck finding said survey. I consider myself a reasonable competent researcher — it’s included in my job title, after all — and after a good hour with a search engine I was still drawing a blank. As far as I can tell, you cannot find the survey unless you already have the URL. Which is an interesting approach, don’t you think?
The funny thing is that the council website already has a section of its website dedicated to consultations. The list of open consultations isn’t exactly long, but I don’t see anything related to waste collection there.
So we have a waste consultation, but it’s unfindable. The only reason I even know about it is because a neighbour happened to receive the link in an email and forward it to a family member. Even the leader of the Lib Dem opposition didn’t seem to know anything about it.
As I see it, there are two possible explanations:
- It’s not real. Which seems strange, since it looks like it’s hosted on the council website.
- The council doesn’t really want people to find it, apart from people who they show the link to.
No prizes for guessing which I think the answer is.
So going forward, what to do. Well, firstly I suggest you all go to the survey, fill it out, and tell the council what you think of their waste scheme. I’ll even give you the link, free of charge:
Secondly, there’s an email address on the consultations section of the Wokingham website, for someone called a “Consultation Officer”. This sounds like someone who should know about any consultations being conducted, so I’m going to send them an email asking for clarification. I’ll let you all know what response I get.
And thirdly, I will be meeting with Cllr Angus Ross at the end of the month to discuss the new bins scheme. Amongst a few other things, you can be very much sure this will be mentioned.