Monday, 25 May 2009

Kent County Council Elections, their broken website and councillors expenses

Still on the subject of the forthcoming elections the lists of Thanet candidates for the KCC elections are on the TDC website only in pdf format which is fine if your computer has The program installed and is powerful enough to run it properly, click on the link to view them there http://www.thanet.gov.uk/council__democracy/cllrs_democracy__elections/elections_and_voting/elections_4_june_2009.aspx

If not I have published them at http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/blogpicts2/id108.htm this particular pdf document is a bit of a dogs dinner so when I tried to convert it into HTML all its columns vanished, so you will have to put up with images of the documents here.

I can usually overcome this problem by using search engine cached pages of pdf files that are in HTML but as TDCIT hasn’t tagged the pages no search engines have found them. It’s all a bit sad really, a bit like if I put my books for sale on the internet in a funny file format without tagging the pages so no one ever found them and I went bankrupt.

I have been trying to find out what the different candidates have to offer which is a bit of a time consuming business, I haven’t received any election material from any of the candidates or parties so far and internet wise coverage is patchy.

Now I really don’t like to be constantly complaining about our local councils IT but with the limited amount of time I have their websites are an important resource to me, once again I see no alternative, so here I go again.

The KCC website in this instance is even worse than the TDC one, it hasn’t even lists of candidates just a busted crazy map that takes you to pages without the information it says will be there this is what it says here http://www.kent.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/democracy-and-elections/elections/ Find out the candidates that are standing for election in your area click on it an see what you get.

If any of the candidates wish to send me links to their websites or material to publish by email if they haven’t got a website I am happy to publish the links or the material here.

In view of the current expenses disaster and in order to find out who your existing county councillors are click on the link for a list of their allowances and expenses http://www.kent.gov.uk/publications/council-and-democracy/member-allowances2008-09.htm once again funny file formats that may not open on some computers, so I have put them up in HTML something that anyone can view on any old computer. Click on the link to view them. http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/blogpicts2/id109.htm

As you can see at £1,762,906.72 they don’t come cheap so we want to get the right ones, don’t we?

I wonder which councillor is responsible for making sure KCCIT performs properly, one would think that the part of their website about the forthcoming election would work properly.

3 comments:

  1. Michael,

    A visit over to Tony Flaig's website will give you the links to the manifesto's of all three main parties. From the manifesto there is a link to www.conservativekent.com, where you will find campaign details, and the list of candidates for each area with pictures and descriptions of their particular strengths, interests and achievements.

    As you rightly say, the Councillors expenses are clearly published as well, probably easiest reached through Paul Francis article on the subject.

    As I have said elsewhere, there is not the scope for parliamentary excess within the county system, and all is visible and audited.

    Hope this helps.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Michael, you have to make allowances for the 4 star rated KCC!
    Somebody has acted on a email too soon and changed the candidates pages to results pages but in the process has also moved Thanet to the Marshes. They must be all on edge at KCC in case they miss an email.
    What I dont understand is why some of the parties still put up candidates that in a normal business would have been retired off. It looks like you have a lot of them in Thanet and not a lot of ladies either. No wonder younger people are so disinterested with KCC elections. At least at the national level they are tryting to encourage a younger generation and from all sexes etc.

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  3. Chris as you can imagine I am more than a little disenchanted with the mainstream political parties at the moment and will be looking probably to register some sort of protest vote this time around, unless someone comes up with a good reason no to.

    I am particularly concerned about the performance of the two local conservative administrations that I am governed by locally, the broken website is symptomatic of what I mean but far worse it their disregard for public safety.

    As an example KCC have sanctioned the Pleasurama access road built without a FRA strongly recommended by the EA, lose slabs on sand on top of the sea defence where wave overtopping occurs.

    Frankly Chris if I thought I was getting reasonably good government locally I wouldn’t consider a protest vote despite the expenses scandal.

    As far as Paul Francis’s article goes the only problem is it once again takes you to the KCC website with the funny file formats, fine if you have a state of the art government funded computer but not so funny if you have an old pc struggling to run Widows XP which many of the occasional internet users trying to make sense of the election have.

    I do understand this as many of my bookshop customers consider me to be a bit computer savvy, so ask me questions when things go wrong with the computers.

    As far as councillors expenses and allowances go, although they seem on high side to me at £28,913.75 you yourself are making more than I am making out of my bookshop, I don’t think people would mind that much if the council was delivering.

    As it is much if our infrastructure is falling apart, a good example of this is out cliff facades.

    19.44 I think the problem here is mainly that the officers producing the information don’t have simple software so that they can publish it to the web themselves, 15 years ago it was difficult to publish to the internet now anyone can do it without any special skill.

    For example publishing an Access document as a downloadable file as KCC have done with the councillor’s expenses is just bad practice, it should have been published as a web page in HTML.

    Difficult, no the program I used for this came out in 2000 and it’s that version I used, all I did was open the program, click on add a page, pasted the Access document onto the page and clicked on publish, simple as that job done.

    Sending off a simple document to a special IT department for publication is no longer appropriate, after all by commenting here you yourself published to the internet, presumably without specialist help.

    The busted crazy map has now gone and the page says:
    “We are sorry but a problem or service unavailability means that your task cannot be completed at present.

    Please try again later or contact our 24 hour helpline on 08458 247 247. It would help us to diagnose the problem if you are able to describe the events that led up to this page being displayed.

    For internal diagnostic purposes the error returned was:

    Logon failure: unknown user name or bad password.

    Please use the 'Next' button below to return to the login page.”

    All a bit cryptic really as there is no 'Next' button on the page.

    ReplyDelete

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