Southwark Council: Broken Promises

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Thursday 31 July 2003 2.51pm
I've noticed various gripes about Southwark Council's performance in this forum. I though it might be useful to list a few of my own here, as telephone calls and 'Ask Austin' rarely seem to elicit a timely response. I hope Nick Stanton (Council Leader) is still browsing through these posts. Others may wish to add thier own experiences.

Southwark have raised the Council tax, among other reasons, to raise local environmental standards. But:

- for over two months, the refuse men failed to collect our refuse (I live in a 9-apartment block) on the regular collection day. Every week I made telephone calls to - 7525 2183 - the enviromental hotline (inter alia suggesting that perhaps the refuse collectors had lost the key to our secure refuse area). I was given a variety of misleading responses and (repeatedly broken) promises to arrange a special collection with 24 hours. On average, it took two calls per week to have the refuse collected usually after three or four days.
- after two time-consuming months of this nonsense, I finally managed to bypass the call centre and speak to a refuse manager directly. He confirmed that the refuse collectors had indeed lost the keys to our refuse area and requested a new key from me. I shudder to think how long this would have drifted on if I had not bypassed the call centre...

- a similar story. A new splash of graffiti on nearby walls. Four weeks of telephone calls to the hotline, followed by my bypassing the hotline and speaking to a manager. Action then resulted within hours.

Dog mess
- I decided to follow Mr Stanton's advice and sent an email through the 'Ask Austin' site. Although they promise a reply within '2 working days' (see other forum thread on refuse disposal), four days later I have yet to receive a reply.
What bugs me about this is that as a band D tax payer, I am helping to fund the call centre, ask austin, the grafitti removal service, the dog mess removers, the refuse men etc etc and yet they are all pretty dysfunctional. This is hardly the flagship environmental programme which Nick Stanton claims it to be..It seems that the much-vaunted call centre has almost no impact on the Council's response, and that ask austin is asleep.

If Nick is interested, I have the reference numbers and call handlers for most of these calls. On some of my calls, I was told the system was down and somebody would call me back with a reference number - which they never did!

Thursday 31 July 2003 3.29pm
Although I'm a critic of Southwark... I must confess that I wouldn't be the most enthusiastic worker in a call centre given the salary that is the norm for local government.

They could do much better, but equally could do a whole lot worse.

Isn't it a case of 'better the devil you know?'
Thursday 31 July 2003 4.00pm
Our refuse is always collected without and again it gets missed, last time it was due to the road closure. its a manky job and the pay is not too good for that either....I'd rather sit on a call centre!

Thursday 31 July 2003 6.45pm
My refuse is ALWAYS collected - and they'll collect large items too - IF you ask the right people first.
Southwark streets seem to be generally much cleaner over the past few months - I am always cycling past road sweepers and road cleansing vehicles.
I also think southwark parks are fab - loads of investment seen recently.
Thankyou bin men
Why cant we quit all this moaning MOANING MOANING. If there's a problem phone the correct number at the council and in my experience they try v hard to sort it.
Hey - lets not let these trivialities run our lives..........
Thursday 31 July 2003 7.19pm
In Derby council tax is still high and people have to pay 7.00 per ITEM for collection......or take it to the very well organised council depot, which of course being a large countryside area they can do.....I never moan about the dustmen, who when picking up a sack of rubbish to swing it in the bin often run the risk of injury from broken glass, or other sharp items just stuck in bags..... we have a great collection service in Southwark, and I do appreciate it.
thats why extra expense incurred in cleaning subways etc., is uncalled for due to the expense...sorry bit drunk at moment...cant spell, will definitely be sober tomorrow....
need karaoke....need karaoke...aka Homer Simpson.....need doughnuts.....:-)

Thursday 31 July 2003 11.04pm
hey jc jc

im with you here the forum is in danger of becoming very dull indeed with all the moaning. I have just read the thread on subways which has all the contact details of where to report the problems to only to be followed by another moan hoping that the relevent department reads the forum and then takes action. Surely it would have only taken slightly more effort to email the council as the details were at hand?

Andrews moan may be justified as he is taking appropriate action, but just moaning for moaning sake is rather boring.

Just one more thought if Southwark is such a terrible place why do we all live here?
Thursday 31 July 2003 11.13pm
I did email the council as soon as I posted the details, and funnily enough it was dealt with straight away. However, I had called the council before and nothing was done. When I emailed the council I said they may want to read the comments on the forum - which makes me think that this forum is a more effective way of getting things done than calling the call centre. Strangely, I haven't actually had a personal reply to my email highlighting the problem in the first place - I only knew something had been done through reading this forum.


Post edited (31 Jul 03 23:16)
Friday 1 August 2003 8.53am
I think that this forum is a great place to get things done and credit to Southwark they do take it seriously.

Like most things, if it is to continue to be a success then it is good that we praise Southwark when they get it right as well as crititcise when they fail.
Friday 1 August 2003 9.19am
To the lady miss jo jo

It wasn't you I was refering to. It was someone else latter in the posting on the subways
Friday 1 August 2003 9.48am
Probably me....
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