June 16, 2013 Leave a comment
Two Conservative Cabinet members defending the political leadership in the Borough of Southend-on-Sea is no surprise, as it is no surprise that I lambast them for this woeful leadership and its profligacy in regards to spending taxpayers’ money on vanity projects. I note that they describe their Government’s cuts to local authorities as delivering “more than its fair share” – I think we can agree on the unfairness of this Government’s agenda.
Their attempt to justify spending £55,000 on the council website poses more questions than it answers. I have some experience of websites, by profession I am an IT Consultant. The first such question is that if the council website is no longer fit for purpose who was it that oversaw the design of this labyrinthine system? One also wonders how they think they can increase website transactions whilst closing libraries which, for many, is their only place for online access?
Behind this drive to encourage online access is the cull of those staff who deal with telephone and face-to-face inquiries. Whilst I also wish for the best IT system we can reasonably deliver I do not think this should cause the cutting of staff numbers. I happen to believe that for many who wish to contact the council, IT systems are more of a hindrance than a help. Many want human interaction, and I think we should oblige.
It is a big if to hope for increased web transactions and I wonder what leads them to believe this is a possibility. However, to beautify a working system at a time of financial constraints is an exercise in vanity and I do not believe that most residents would prefer this to kept open Children’s Centres.
That they compare the council’s budget to Mr Micawber’s household expenditure amply demonstrates this ruling administration’s failure; there is no corollary between the two.
They close by arguing for investment now; I concur. I hope they will speak with their Prime Minister and Chancellor and encourage them to invest in this nation’s future by creating jobs – something desperately needed in Southend-on-Sea.