Received: 1 November 2019
It is of great public concern that the leader of Barnet Council, Daniel Thomas, has been reported in the press as saying that a failure to report problems such as potholes to the council is the cause of these problems not being fixed when it appears that the council's online portal for reporting such problems is not fit for purpose and problems that are reported are routinely ignored (https://www.times-series.co.uk/news/18003402.councillors-clash-conditions-barnet-housing-block/).
This issue is evidently of great public interest and justifies a very high level of openness and transparency. It is difficult to conceive of any reasonable grounds for the council to withhold information relating to this issue.
I have reported a number of problems via the council portal over a period of months. Some of them are rectified, but many are not. For example, on 4 September I reported fly-posting on the safety railings at the junction of Squires Ln and Long Ln. Over 8 weeks have passed and the posters have not yet been removed. According to Barnet Council's service commitment (https://www.barnet.gov.uk/roads-and-pavements/report-problem-road-street-or-pavement/report-problem-service-commitments) this fly-posting will be assessed within 10 days. The online portal page shows a message confirming receipt of my problem report and affirming the council's service commitment. However, no follow-up message has been posted explaining how this issue has been assessed or resolved. Indeed this problem is listed in my online account as one of 32 problems that have not yet been resolved and which are still in progress.
1. Please provide all documents, emails, notes, and other records relating to any assessment which has or has not been carried out by the council following my reporting of this problem, including any such information explaining why an assessment has not been carried out.
2. In the event that any assessment has been carried out, or a decision has been made not to carry out an assessment please explain why there is no message or other update included on the online portal such that I could be made aware of this fact without having to resort to an FOI request.
3. In the event that an assessment has been carried out and the council has decided not to remove the fly-posters please provide a full explanation. If the council has provided permission to the promoters / advertisers to fix posters in this hazardous location please state this clearly, and identify all such advertisers / promoters, and the dates on which permission was provided, and the duration of the permission (particularly in relation to events which concluded many weeks ago), and provide any documentary evidence of any risk assessment carried out in relation to the suitability of the posters at this hazardous location near a primary school.
4. Despite the fact that the council is presumable keeping a record of all problems logged via the online portal, please explain why these problem reports are not visible / accessible to portal users. It is only possible to see the receipt message provided by the council, and this contains no information regarding the detail of the problem. It seems that the only way a user is able to deduce what the details are for each problem are to keep their own records. Please confirm if this is indeed how the portal works, or if not please explain how it is possible for a user to locate the details of a problem which they previosuly reported, and also where instructions for this information are provided on the council website if any exist.
5. Please provide any documents, reports, memos of other internal council communications regarding failures or inadequacies with the fly-posting removal service, including any reports the
Outcome / Documents
- Response (information exempt) - application/pdf - Download