How useless are Southwark?

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Wednesday 28 July 2004 10.12am
Anybody who noted my post on garden waste will know that I am looking for some extra paper bags to deal with my hedge clippings.

http://www.southwark.gov.uk/OurServices/environment/RecyclingPages/GardenWaste.html

Having failed to locate the source for these at the Elephant, I though I would go to the Spa road source.

Alfred Salter Neighbourhood office at 3 Spa road.

Full of confidence I went in there at 4.50pm (closes at 5).
Southwark Employee: 'Sorry we're closed.'
Me :'All I want is a garden waste recycling bag.'
SE 'Eh?'
M 'All I want is a GWRB.'
SE 'Eh?'
M 'GWRB.'
SE 'Never heard of 'em, you want the One Stop Shop at 17 Spa Road.'
M'Thanks'

17 Spa Road.
4.52pm (closes at 5). All dorrs locked & shut.

SE 'They've gone home, it's 5pm'
Me 'it's not'
Break in, as somebody else leaves, by going through briefly open door.
M 'Please may I have a GWRB'
SE 'Eh?' 'We're shut'
M 'a GWRB.'
SE 'Eh?'
M 'GWRB.'
SE 'Never heard of 'em,'
M 'I was told by the SE in 3 Spa road to go to the One Stop Shop at 17 Spa Road.'
SE 'The One Stop Shop is in [Peckham(?)] We're the First Stop Shop'
M 'Well I was told to go to 17 Spa Road, whatever you're called'
SE 'If you want a OSS you need to go to [Peckham]'
M 'All I want is a GWRB'
SE 'Try the Town Hall at 18 Spa Road, they'll have them.'

18 Spa Road 4.59pm

SE 'Eh?'
M 'a GWRB.' [Some language difficulty, as person at desk has very very limited command of English language. No, no command whatsoever, it has command of him & causes him great difficulty.]
SE 'Eh?'
M 'GWRB.' Slowly 'G W R B' GWRB GGG WWWW RRR BBB'
SE 'Never heard of 'em,'
M 'I was told by the SE in the First Stop Shop at 17 Spa Road to go to the Town Hall at 18 Spa Road.'
SE 'Town Hall is in Peckham.'
M 'I was told to come here'
SE 'Here is no Town Hall. You need Peckham'
M [tearing hair out] 'All I want is a GWRB'
SE makes phone call & gives me a telephone number. Asks me who I work for.
M 'No, I'm a resident'
SE - on phone - 'he works for council & wants 2 gross of bags.' [Here having vision of anti-hero in Porterhouse Blue being given 2 gross of French Letters.]
M 'All I want is a GWRB'

Anyway, return to 3 Spa Road, and happen to find the person in charge of the place who is very helpful - despite it being 5.15 and she is leaving the office.

SE 'A what?
M 'A GWRB. It says on the Southwark website that you have them here. I've been to the OSS & the TH and they all deny it. Please help.
SE disapears to look at intranet. Returns 10 minutes later.
SE 'Never heard of them. Yes I see why you think I should have them but I don't. It's such a new scheme I'm sure we'll get them soon. I'll investigate for you & shall have them in in 48 hours. Frankly, most of our concil tenants just dumpt the ********stuff on the pavement so we clear it up like that.

What's the point of launching a big drive to recycle garden waste & then not follow it up.
Cllr Stanton do you read this site?


Phew!!!!!

Wednesday 28 July 2004 10.46am
Hehe! Join the club, I have had my grudges with their recycling just recently! read the posts here:

http://www.southwark.gov.uk/SouthwarkDiscussion/ShowForum.aspx?ForumID=66

All the posts are moderated and eventually replied by somebody on the recycling team. I (username Jay) complained after making a wasted journey to Tesco's at Old Kent Road, after the website claimed you could recycle textiles there. Well you can't. And the website still says you can. I also pointed out to them, that the website places my nearest recycling bank in the wrong place, where it used to be more than six months ago. No change yet, I think I remember reading here somebody had looked for a recycling bank in Blackfriars Road, as shown on the website?
Wednesday 28 July 2004 9.50pm
Hello Mapmaker
I get my GWRB bags from John Harvard Library, Borough High Street - I've found the staff very helpful - not too much trouble to go and look for them.
Wednesday 28 July 2004 10.42pm
Kind of obvious really. Garden waste and libraries. Go together like tea and biscuits.
Thursday 29 July 2004 12.23pm
I found this morning a private message waiting for me, asking to call an employee of Southwark Council (in his non-council capacity) - well known on this forum, and with a penchant for cycling on the pavement. I called him. He proceeded to tell me that my post was extremely demoralising for employees of the council & blamed it all on Lady Thatcher, as she didn't think there was such a thing as society.

Hang on!

1. How long has Lady Thatcher not been Prime Minister? Almost a decade and a half? And it's still her fault that Southwark cannot come up with GWRBs? And there's no credit given for the fact that she turned this country from being the poor man of Europe into the one with currently the most thriving economy?

2. As I tried to remind him, but he wouldn't listen, Lady Thatcher did not say that - or at least not in the way it is misquoted by people who hate her with a vengeance. The Russians tried collectives, and look where it got them - oh I so wish we had done so too.

3. What council but Southwark would waste loads of money on advertising the implementation of a major borough-wide scheme for recycling, yet not implement it - by failing at the end to provide the recycling bags where they said they would?
Thursday 29 July 2004 12.42pm
Mapmaker Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> He proceeded to tell me that my post was
> extremely demoralising for employees of the council
> & blamed it all on Lady Thatcher
> , as she didn't think there was such
> a thing as society.

Why is it demoralising to report that staff dealing with the public are not being informed of new iniatives by their incompetent middle managers?

Why is it demoralising to report that public offices are closing before their scheduled closing time and denying people access to local services?

Why is it demoralising to say that Southwark's new website remains crap?

And what the hell has this got to do with Margaret Thatcher?

I think that Mapmaker's original post was wholly reasonable.

If a (presumably relatively senior) member of Southwark's staff cannot
see that there are basic failings of service delivery here, then God help residents of the borough.



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 29 July 2004 12.48pm by Lang Rabbie.
Thursday 29 July 2004 12.50pm
Did you try the council recycling forum? Or did your post get censored.... Mind you, posts usually only show a day after.

"Got something to say about our new garden waste collections? Then say it right here!" is the caption in one of the topics....

http://www.southwark.gov.uk/SouthwarkDiscussion/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=780
Thursday 29 July 2004 12.59pm
As you are the arbiter of reasonable behaviour here, LR, thank you! I did wonder where I'd been going wrong!
Thursday 29 July 2004 12.59pm
Oh yes, and I did copy & paste onto just that page, thanks, Nelson.
Thursday 29 July 2004 1.17pm
There are some things that I think Southwark Council are pretty good at - the out of hours Noise Pollution team and their Planning Department have been well informed and helpful whenever I've needed to speak to them, for example.

But recycling ? I think not.

Lots of puff on the website - no substance on the ground at all. I live in a block of flats, so don't have the issues with collection that others do because Southwark don't collect from blocks of flats - which is understandable and absolutely fine. Except that on three occasions now when I've phoned about the incorrect information on recycling centres, I've been told that I should be using the door to door collection instead (wrong), or (as Jac) recycling facilities aren't available to people on Long Lane because it would cause a hazard (???!!!???), or - most memorably - that I should just put it out with my normal rubbish because the recycling system "isn't really up and running yet, so it all gets sent to landfill anyway".

Like others, I've wasted several trips looking for recycling facilities shown on the map which no longer exist (although today, the map is offline, so maybe, just maybe, they've decided to update it !) and when you find some, they are usually overflowing and unusable with broken glass and rubbish all around them.

Hint, if your facilities get this full, this quickly when no-one actually knows where they are you either a) need more of them or b) need to empty them a bit more regularly.

I'm sorry if council employees were demoralised by reading Mapmaker's post - I thought it sounded pretty fair and reflective of my own experiences.

But what else are we supposed to do ? I've complained to Southwark three times about the incorrect information on the recycling map and nothing has been done until today - after Nelson posted about it here - (and bear in mind, it could just be offline for because it's broke, not because they are updating it).
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