Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Dustcart offered, now all we need is a driver!

Barnet council's very own take on Pledge Bank, Barnet Pledgebank, is up and running. They have learned some lessons from their mixed experience with the Barnet Ideas website: they make it very clear from the outset that they will vet all suggestions. (With real Pledge Bank you can suggest anything you like.) Therefore, any offers to flay the councillors alive if half a dozen other Barnet residents will join in and help are not likely to see the light of day, alas.

As will all their forays into harnessing the power of social media, Barnet show the usual degree of completely missing the point of it all, by starting residents off with a pseudo-pledge that reveals the true purpose of the exercise for them:
Barnet Council will provide 6 computers with internet access and a training room at Hendon Library but only if 2 local residents will volunteer to provide an hour's I.T. training a week.
What are they going to do with those facilities otherwise? Barnet Council will provide residents with... things that belong to us already?

This could be taken to absurd lengths.
Barnet Council wil provide a fleet of dustcarts and a crash course in rudimentary health and safety but only if 12 local residents will volunteer to collect their own rubbish.
Of course, Barnet Pledgebank is mainly propaganda for the Big Society idea and to grind in the message that the council is going belly up financially. There can't really come any coherent or useful outcome from this exercise.

I think, most of all, I resent the expensive advertisements going up all over the borough for this, when they could have been advertising something genuinely useful, such as how people can claim benefits they are entitled to but don't know about.

1 comment:

Mrs Angry said...

Wouldn't it be nice if one of the lessons they learnt from the Ideas website was a lesson in honesty, and the need to avoid fixing the outcome of public surveys and other froms of engagement?