Posts Tagged ‘Hounslow Chronicle’

Technology and Channel Shift an opportunity (being missed by LBH)

April 4, 2012

Here is my most recent column in the Chronicle.  It is mainly based on a contribution I made at last week’s Borough Council Meeting.  I have commented about it before on the blog.

The column outlines my basic position.  Despite the response from one Labour Councillor in the Chamber to my constructive remarks, this is not a partisan or party political matter.

Labour controlled Ealing seem to have a decent idea of what I mean.  This is on their Council Building:

They clearly understand that it is in the interests of everyone for those who have internet access to use the most modern form of technology when dealing with the Council, unless this is not possible.  If we applied Hounslow’s more recent approach (and assumed that Hounslow also had a Town Hall on the High Street), it would have put up signage with lots of phone numbers and the general website.

I genuinely hope that Hounslow will change its ways here.  It saddened me that there were people who signed off the page in Hounslow Matters that I consider so out of date in its approach.

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Responsible Opposition

November 25, 2010

Here is my latest column in the Chronicle.

Best Wishes Ram, Jim and Mash

January 22, 2010

I did not know that the Londis Store on Hounslow Road was changing hands.  The three brothers are very nice men and popular with local residents.  I wish them all the best and hope to see them this evening when I pop in.

Council Executive Meeting earlier this week

July 18, 2009

Some terribly important reports were taken to Executive last Tuesday.  I was especially excited about items 11 & 14.  The report considered under item 11 is an example of Green IT at its best.  There are both environmental and cashable benefits.  With regards to item 14, the foundations laid by my friend and colleague, Adrian Lee, continue to be built on by the recent addition, Becky Stewart.

Item 3 was in my name.  I am concerned about the impression that it has given to some people and also the content of an article in the Chronicle last week.  Every organisation needs to have a policy like this in place and I would be surprised if the amount of people categorised as vexatious complainants was ever more than half a dozen.  The prospect of anyone believing that the Council would label someone as vexatious because they are making legitimate enquiries or complaints horrifies me.  Not long after being first elected, there was a case that I took on and I was horrified at the way a constituent and I were treated.  She was let down in a big way and the tactic of not answering questions and causing more frustration was deployed.  I could see that the Council had a major problem with its Complaints Procedure (despite having pockets of brilliance) and I quickly identified this as the element of the Customer Service Umbrella that needed the most attention when I became Lead Member in 2006.

I quickly took a report on becoming Lead Member that reversed the decision of the previous Labour administration to increase the timescales for dealing with complaints.  I also instigated other changes that reconfigured the Procedure to establish a Panel of Councillors to determine complaints at Stage 3.  I believe that the changes have been revolutionary.

These changes were not welcomed at first.  I first suggested them when in opposition but they were strongly opposed by the previous administration who made claims from predicting that it would be legally challenged to it would lead to a conflict of interest.  Despite the success since, only one person has acknowledged that they were wrong to oppose the establishment of the Members Panel.

My friend and colleague, Phil Andrews, posted about this most recent report recently.  I think I have been guilty in not giving enough thought to how the provisions in this report would be perceived by others.  I did try and reassure people when presenting the report that it would genuinely only be used where fully justified.  Asking legitimate questions will not be a reason for limiting the type of contact that a resident can have with the Council.

I am as passionate about the importance of complaints now, as I was when first elected.  The Council, and how it deals with the thousands of complaints,  is not perfect every time but I know that residents who will have the need to use the Council’s Complaints Procedure in the future now have a much better prospect of a better experience than they did a few years ago.  I am confident that there is a pool of Members who deal with Complaints at Stage 3 that will accept departments having a different point of view to residents but they will not accept any example of questions not being answered or legitimate issues, where the Council has a role, addressed.  I can honestly say that there has not yet been that case in all the panels I have been on that has angered me because of attempts to grind people down with no answers or answers to questions not asked.  There has been a step changed in earlier resolution of complaints and that is what I wanted to achieve.

Here is some information about how complaints work at Hounslow.  If you ever feel let down by the Council, I strongly urge you to complain.

The latest on MP Expenses

July 4, 2008

Here is the latest in the Chronicle.

And, here is the full debate in Hansard (well the order paper).

It is clear how Alan Keen voted by why on earth did he not speak in the debate?  Lets see what he says to the local papers.  I only hope that it is more than the usual “within the rules” etc.  Please justify why the second home is needed.

I once voted for an increase in allowances for Councillors and explained to my constituents why I did so.

This week’s Chronicle

June 21, 2008

The letters page is well worth a read.  Not yet updated online but well worth a read.  Clearly, if this page is anything to go by, a large number of people (including Labour Party supporters) are very angry with what Councillor Sharma said.

Will Labour Councillors back him on Tuesday at the Borough Council Meeting?  We will find out at the end of agenda item 17.

The latest from Councillor Sharma and Mr Alan Keen MP

June 8, 2008

Here is an article from the Chronicle about the former.  Make up your own mind.

And, I have finally received a response from Alan Keen MP.  More later.

Another local paper goes online

May 16, 2008

I found out today that Chronicle are now online.  The Times are also online and have been for a while.

I have been thinking about a weekly review of the local papers on this blog.  This will make it easier.  Watch this space!

Blog gets a mention in the Chronicle

February 8, 2008

This blog got a mention on page 6 of the Chronicle yesterday.  If you found out about this blog that way, feel free to let me know and, more generally, I look forward to your comments.