Thursday, 13 January 2011

Consultation fatigue

The Barnet Press has an interesting story about the disability rights charity Disability Action in the Borough if Barnet (DABB). They are struggling to answer enquiries, as people seek advice before filling in the council's many budget consultation documents.

The council is publishing an unprecedented number of consultations as they seek people's views (yeah, right) on all the budget cuts, service changes, etc, they are trying to push through.

The Press reports:
Executive director Dexter Hanoomansingh told The Press the people who use his services are being asked to take part in four consultations which will affect their care in future years. The council is currently asking residents to respond to consultations on funding for the voluntary sector, a new charging policy for care services, the budget for adult social services and the future of sheltered housing wardens by January 27.

Bur Mr Hanoomansingh, who has attended consultation meetings with residents, says the number of consultations and language used is confusing for those most vulnerable.
Look here to see just how many consultations are live. I had worried about this as well, as I filled in the museums consultation last night. (I am saving the Arts Depot consultation for another day - although we only have till 17 January for it.) For people who are managing with a disability this could be an extremely worrying time - and at the least a tiring one. (Remember, too, that the government is changing the rules for people claiming benefits for disability, making it harder to claim.)

The council's comment, channeled via Sachin Rajput, cabinet member for adults, is:
“The timing of these consultations is inextricably linked to the finalisation of the budget for 2011/12.

“I can appreciate that there is a lot for people to comment on, but we have to have the budget in place by next [this] April and need to allow enough time to gather as much feedback on proposals from residents and users as we can. It’s also crucial that people are given the opportunity to make their opinions known. All those comments then need to be evaluated so we can devise a budget which addresses the enormous financial challenges facing the council.”
I think it is more a case of the council ticking the boxes - Consultation? Check. Equalities Impact Assessment? Check. - before they go ahead and do what they have decided to do in any case. But under the table they must have fingers and a lot more besides crossed hoping they do not get a number of legal challenges to their plans.

10 comments:

Mrs Angry said...

your last paragraph says it all: if as in the sheltered housing debacle, they cannot demonstrate that they have consulted fully and properly considered disability and equal ops issues, they will lay themselves open to legal challenge. They will have been warned about this, but will they have listened?

David Duff said...

Not Dexter Hanoomansingh the well-known spelling mistake, surely? I mean, he likes to pass himself as a classy anagram but everyone knows he's really just a common old spelling mistake!

I couldn't quite struggle through all that stuff about the 'crips' even though, praise the Intelligent Designer, your posts are approximately 98.7% shorter than Mrs. A's. As far as I'm concerned the 'crips' are far too pampered especially in the way they are given all the prime parking sites in my supermarket of choice which means I have to splash through the rain or skate across the ice to reach the entrance immediately outside of which are dozens of empty 'crip' parking spaces. Grrrrh!

vickim57 said...

You're grotesque, DD. I can't bring myself to censor you, though. I don't like you enough.

If I believed in the intelligent designer, I would say 'May God make you disabled, so that you'll learn not to be so rude'. Instead, all I can hope is that you'll one day wake up realising how smug you are.

Word verification: dingl

Rog T said...

Every time David Duff posts here, I have a look at his blog and decide to leave a bilious comment to wind him up. Every time I manage to read two sentences and realise that I'd rather watch paint dry than read his banal prose. It is just so mindnumbingly boring. I suspect he only posts here so people will look at his blog. Mental note to me : Next Time David Duff leaves a stupid comment, don't waste my time.

I would say that as an experienced editor you are within your rights to delete comments left by people who have nothing at all to say and just waste other peoples time.

Mrs Angry said...

Just noticed this: poor old boy, he's sulking because I used the blue pencil on one of his rants. Oh, yes: let's make fun of people with foreign surnames, shall we? Much better to have a self descriptive one like his ... anyway, I forgive him,Lord, for he knows not what he does - seems to live in East Anglia, and that's enough to drive anyone over the edge, believe me. Mr Angry is from Norfolk.

Mrs Angry said...

sorry, I've only just re-read his remarks and understood the 'crips' reference: hard to believe that in the 21st century anyone resorts to such an offensive and puerile comment and I hope he is ashamed of himself, but I rather doubt it.

David Duff said...

Oh dear, did I say something?

But on a different subject I can't help feeling that Mrs. 'A' is verging on downright East Anglianism! They might sound a tad simple over there and it's true that they all tend, somewhat suspiciously, to look like each other but that is no excuse for "making fun" of people with funny accents. Frankly, I'm surprised such things are allowed on progressive site like this.

Still, life is good, life is beautiful - Roger has decided never to leave a comment at my place.

Mrs Angry said...

I have always subscribed to the theory that landscape shapes the soul, and the bleak, soul-less landscape of the surrounding fens has certainly left its mark on one sad old duffer.

Let's move on, shall we?

David Duff said...

Mrs 'A', this is our red-letter day - we agree! (Who knows, this might be the beginning of a, er, fruitful relationship after all.)

I do not live in East Anglia and, like you, I do not like the landscape - far too much sky against far too little land. And that bloody wind! Actually, you must divert your big-hearted, socialist sympathies to South Somerset/North Dorset for it is there that the unfortunate inhabitants must put up with the snapping, snarling, dribbling 'Duffster'.

Mind you, I wouldn't live in Barnet if you paid me!

PS: How odd, the security code is "UNWINGE" - very appropriate, I just have!

Moaneybat said...

Duffer

"with the snapping, snarling, dribbling 'Duffster'."

You forgot to to add "Yellow" to the profile of youself. Change the bag if you are 'dribbling'