There’s an interesting story in the Yorkshire Evening Post today – interesting for its content and for what it shows about how councils communicate with us citizens (I understand we’re not customers any more).
The gist of the story is this: Leeds City Council has given Morrison FS until the end of the year to improve the council home repairs and maintenance work it carries out in south and west Leeds in return for £35m per year.
As the YEP reports, it’s a second chance for Morrison. Earlier in the year the Council gave them until June to sort things out.
The story’s interesting not just because it’s a major Leeds council contract that’s been dogged by problems since it was signed in April 2011, but because Morrison has been having similar problems elsewhere in the country.
“Exclusive” because the announcement came in the course of an interview a senior council official gave to one of the paper’s reporters.
Which got me wondering: if this is how the announcement has been made, how have the people directly affected by the contract failures – the council tenants, the local unions, the Morrison employees – been informed of this significant latest development?
Well, the YEP quotes a GMB union officer as saying that neither the unions nor Morrison’s employees have been informed.
And the tenants? Well, I had a look around and …
Nothing on the council’s website. Nothing on the websites of the housing organisations involved, Aire Valley Homes and West North West Homes. Nothing that I can find in the minutes of the council’s local area committees, where the issue has been raised in the past.
So how have the council and the two housing organisations told tenants – the people who should probably be the first to know – about the news? In a flyer/letter/email drop to all 37,000 homes involved? Anyone know?
If they haven’t been told, you get to wondering: firstly, if the YEP reporter hadn’t asked the council’s executive member for neighborhoods and housing what was going on, how and when would anybody have known about it at all?; and secondly, if we didn’t have the YEP, who would ask these questions in the first place?