Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Thanet’s Core Strategy update on the missing responses.

I have had a reply from Thanet District Council to the effect that the only respondents listed at http://consult.thanet.gov.uk/inovem/consult.ti/core.strategy/listRespondents are those who succeeded in using the online form.

This is slightly bizarre on reflection as the Ramsgate Society response was delivered on paper I believe, so I still have some way to get to the bottom of this.

I genuinely believe that there isn’t an intention to deceive here, but this is due to the officers concerned having to work in the new area of public consultation joined to the internet, within the constraints of TDCIT.

From what I understand the names of those who responded on paper or by email will appear in the list soon and there will be some attempt to publish as many of the responses as possible on the internet.

My understanding is that they have masses of sheets of paper, complex emails with long attachments and they are looking at how best to present this on the internet, in a way that people unscramble it all fairly easily.

I suppose the lesson here for the council is that if you say on the internet that there are 118 responses when in fact there are more than this and combine this information with the names the of people who responded, many of them are going to notice immediately that there names aren’t there.

I think the nub of the problem here is that the officer putting the information on to the internet isn’t the officer that has produced the information and in fact the person who put the information onto the internet is in fact an IT bod who hasn’t a detailed understanding of the information that they are publishing.

You can consider this in terms of my online bookselling and wonder what would happen if instead of me and the other people who work in the bookshop putting the books for sale on the internet, these were put online by someone who hadn’t actually seen the books.

Government in general but particularly local government has got itself into a bit of a time warp when it comes to IT, it is as though publishing to the internet is a sort of sacred cow only to be done by some special group of people.

This used to be the case a number of years ago, of course now everyone one does it all the time, if you leave a comment here you have published to the internet and everyone with an internet connection can read it.

Well everyone apart from people living in countries with oppressive regimes or working in places like TDC where this site is probably blocked by the thought police or whatever.


  1. Michael, the comment for Margate Conservation Area Advisory group was sent by email, not on line or in paper format, so much more to unravel.

  2. Old Woman of Margate, I cringe to imagine the flack us local bloggers would get if we posted with this level of inaccuracy.

    I have man flue at the moment, so am using the living room computer, unfortunately the keyboard hasn’t been the same since wine was spilled in it so no quotation marks.

    The following is a quote from the email I received from TDCs Strategic Planning Manager:

    The position is that what you see via our website comes direct from our on-line consultation system so it currently only shows those people who made their comments via that system which totalled 118. We have a significant number of representations received by e-mail and by post and these are not counted by that system and not currently shown on-line. I understand that these will need to be added manually if they are to appear in these statistics but I am seeing if we can at least get a list of all those who made representations available. However everyone who commented will have received an acknowledgement of their comments either electronically, by e-mail or by post.

  3. Left off the listFebruary 02, 2010 3:01 pm

    As one of the other people whose name was either deliberately or accidentally left off the list I wish you luck in your quest Michael - doesn't really matter what excuse is given does it? TDC's Incompetence by any other name would smell as sweet...

  4. >>> 02 February 2010 >>>
    Hi **** here is the blog post and accompanying picture, please let me know
    if there are any errors or corrections.

    Thank you

    I just wanted to assure you that there is absolutely no intention to deceive or hold back any information. I do not work like that and am always happy to try and explain to the best of my ability what is a complicated system that we have to operate in as I am sure you are aware from ***** responses to you.

    I do hope to have a full list of all respondents available on line in the next few days but inputting their comments will take much longer.

    The consultants acting for the Ramsgate Society did register on-line and said they had made a response but didn't complete the questionnaire or actually make any comment on-line so they appeared on the list but actually made their comments by post.



    Strategic Planning Manager
    Thanet District Council
    www.thanet .gov.uk

    **** I do understand and know **** who I reckon is about as likely to go out of his way to deceive people, as pigs are to fly.

    I now have the Margate Conservation Area Advisory group saying that they responded by email but are on the list.

    Frankly the whole thing is about ham-fisted use of the internet so TDC is perceived badly.

    I have had numerous conversations with cllr *** and the various IT officers about how to resolve this but it mostly falls on deaf ears.

    If you can get TDCIT to allow you to access blogger you could keep an eye on the situation.

    Best regards Michael

  5. Michael, I agree with you that there is no intention to deceive, but the efficiency of recording seems in doubt.
    I can identify about six on the list who used the standard RamSoc response and are included in the list when JFP the consultants are not.
    Also interesting that the last name on a page is often repeated on the following page (TWO RESPONSES ?????)
    My own e-mailed response was completly non-standard but my name is on the list

  6. I like the picture of Sams Butchers. I dont think there is any deception just TDC's IT department are not too good I wouldn't mind betting six months from now they will find another file marked results and lo and behold another set of figures will be used. does that sound cynical cos its meant to be.

  7. The list of respondents is now 20 pages long.


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