Monday, 25 July 2011

Thanet District Council, Cllr Simon Moores and leisure on the internet.

I have just been reading the local blogs and found Simon Moors mentioning my name: “It's very simple Peter, Lord know I've explained it enough times here to answer Michael and other's questions. I really can't be asked to explain it all again…” see http://birchington.blogspot.com/2011/07/spitfire-museum-special-event-14th.html

I think this may be my fault for not explaining things properly, as Simon certainly hasn’t come up with an explanation of the way the council website promotes leisure, that I can understand.

This time I will use a picture of the council’s homepage (taken today) – click on it to make it bigger – to explain, as best as I can, what is wrong.

The council promotes events in three different places on the homepage of its website, so I will go through them one at a time, I have ringed them with different colours for clarity.

In the green ring the header banner, to get into this prime spot on the council’s website the council has to have spent a lot of money on the event, the event should also be in Margate.

In the red circle is a section called events, further investigation of this part of the council’s homepage shows that it is generated automatically by an even more bizarre part of the council’s website http://communityportal.thanet.gov.uk

In short this particular piece of council IT is so dreadful that it means that events in October, November or even next year are promoted on the council’s homepage, while the main event this week is often missing.

I recommend that you click on the link to the community portal and try out this site, it is an excellent example of a bad website, and an appalling breach into the council’s homepage. If you join it allows you to write content onto the council’s website homepage.

You may ask why it is there at all, my guess is that a lot of funding has been spent on it, there may even be people in some TDC offices somewhere being paid to administer it.

The blue circle, right at the bottom of the page takes you the tourism site, one wonders how many tourists get as far as this.

The main problem with the tourism site is that it doesn’t prioritise events by their importance, so if you manage to navigate to their browse events page at http://www.visitthanet.co.uk/thedms.aspx?dms=12&groupid=1&areaid=355&nd=All you come to a jumble of events.

I may expand on this issue if I get time.  

27 comments:

  1. I'm glad someone found my question reasonable Michael (unlike both Simon & Cllr. Harrison it seems). Sometimes being polite is wasted on that lot.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Michael,

    It could be that some of the Cllrs have acquired the impression that you may be suggesting that in some way TDC is a little bit incompetent. They are, understandably, amazed and hurt by this. In my opinion TDC Cllrs are in all matters the acme of perfection. That they are perceived by some to be thin skinned and obtuse cannot be denied. However, I suggest that we treat them nicely and leave them alone to do exactly what they want. Otherwise they will just get cross and be compelled to say rude things about their council tax payers. Do you not agree Michael?

    I read in the papers that some councils have a black list on which they place taxpayers who, in their opinion, are difficult customers. I wonder if TDC has such a list? Surely not; but it might be worth an FOI.

    ReplyDelete
  3. One less TDC internet press release maybe with 7 local kent newspaper changing hands from Northcliff to the KM group:

    Kent Regional News & Media titles going includes , the Isle of Thanet Gazette, the Dover Express, the Folkestone Herald, the Canterbury Times, the Herne Bay and Whitstable Times, the Medway News and the East Kent Gazette.

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  4. Well, this sums up the VisitThanet events page Michael, Margate's "I wish I could see my little willy" is more important than Ramsgate Week.
    Its a good job TDC dont promote Cowes Week!

    ReplyDelete
  5. John

    You are unfortunately right, I have been on it as well as some others. Michael has seen this proof.

    The sad thing is that TDC unlawfully deals with the local electorate to view the books in the Audit period, this happens every year (again this can be proved) whilst the Audit Commission stands idly by and does not nothing!!!

    As for Ramsgate its well known officers were told many years ago to focus at our cost on Margate.


    The real Malcolm

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  6. Peter is spot on. I haven't seen a coherent explanation of the Council policy regarding promoting local events before - as usual we have to rely on an outsider to clarify the situation. And one of the professions that the Flying Doctor claims is teacher - glad I wasn't in his class.
    Other Councils seem to be able to promote local events on their sites; I find it rather sad that ours can't or won't.
    Michael's revelations are a little disturbing but his revelation that the banner section (green ring) - if true - is reserved for Margate events gives the lie to those in Cecil Square who claim to be even-handed in their treatment of the boroughs. And as for the ability to hack into the homepage without Murdoch assistance ...

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  7. I loosely refer to the Ogmios character in his many different aliases, across many different blogs in my 'Age of Rage' Blog today on www.thanetlife.com. Perhaps I should offer a prize for his persistence if nothing else.

    Otherwise, what's this complete and utter b***s I'm reading about Margate being favoured over Ramsgate and officers having been instructed to follow some kind of discriminatory apartheid.

    Let's be clear for moment

    1) It is politically expedient for one group and their supporters, now in control in Ramsgate, to try and present the impression that Margate is favoured but the more astute readers will realise that Ramsgate has a town council which takes an active role in determining its future and quite frankly budget lines at TDC are divided among services and not places, which are basically invisible in the budget process

    Where areas of chronic deprivation, such as Margate and Cliftonvile are concerned, there is central government funding to try and address these priority problems and readers really do need to discriminate between local government, county and national government initiatives and responsibilities

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  8. There you are, you've gone and made a Councillor be angry and shout. I told you so.

    ReplyDelete
  9. No John, I'm simply explaining the facts for the hard of hearing!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Peter I am not really sure that it is councillors or council officers finding it unreasonable, my own best guess is that most of the councillors and officers realise this is a serious problem.

    The internet and IT though produces some problems that are peculiar to local government, where both past expenditure has to be justified, and people are employed.

    Blogger is a prime example of this, a few years ago achieving a blog, which after all is an interactive website with images and feeds would have taken a highly skilled IT professional a considerable time to maintain. Now anyone with no special skills can do this easily for nothing. On the TDC website there are several examples that are something like achieving a blog, that doesn’t work properly, for a lot of money and resources. Facing up to embedding a blog for your press releases or using Youtube for webcasts can’t be easy, especially when the person making the tea or cleaning the office can probably do this just as well as the senior IT officer.

    John, there are quite a few officers and councillors who are supportive of what I am trying to do, even with those who I think consider me a bit of a pain, their antagonism comes and goes.

    Mal, I do get the impression that some of them are genuinely scared to reply to some of my emails and blog comments, but a blacklist I rather doubt.

    18.57 it will be a shame if all of the remaining printed Thanet media belongs to one company.

    Simon, first, I don’t think I have allowed any libellous or malicious comments here, when I get them in the first instance I delete the comment and warn the commentator that I will make their internet life very difficult, in subsequent instances which are mercifully few I do just that.

    Next the question that I don’t think you will want to answer, which is why is the header on the Council’s Website promoting a past Margate event and not Ramsgate Week which is what is on now?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Simon

    Get hold of the copy of the e-mail that was sent round (internally at TDC)about supporting Margate at any cost, then you would properly understand why their are a lot of angry people from Ramsgate.

    The thing is the new Cabinet do not know how to put the genie back in the bottle?

    Take a walk down King street late at night or early in the morning its worse than Margate we also have more derelict areas!!

    Its a pity we do not have an equal local area commission let alone opportunities?

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  12. Simon,

    I would welcome your comments on 'anonymous' at 16:08 about this TDC internal e-mail, purporting to say that Margate must be supported at any cost. Does this also mean that Margate must be supported at the expense of other areas?

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  13. Dr M. is living in cuckoo land. The discrimination in favour of Margate over Ramsgate has been going on since Thanet District Council was founded. In my opinion, Dr. M's denial is just an example of the trend in modern politics for elected politicians to tell people that black is white and expect them to accept it.

    If you want an example of the discrimination you have only to look at the closure of Ramsgate's museum whilst millions are spent on the Turner Centre.

    Another example would be the shady deal to sell Ramsgate's seafront for less than it's worth, to a nameless property developer with nameless directors and to sit back for ten years whilst nothing happens.

    If Dr. M. thinks that this is fair to the people of Ramsgate he can't live here......oh, that's right....he doesn't.

    ReplyDelete
  14. There the cllr/dr goes again with his insulting ways, when will he ever learn that insulting people is not the way to win friends, it just illustrates what kind of person he is.

    To quote
    "No John, I'm simply explaining the facts for the hard of hearing!"

    Its no fun being deaf and this is not a funny comment.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Simon should know that the art of Diplomacy is the building of ladders for people to climb down.

    Difficult I admit but effective. Shouting and being rude invariably loses the argument.

    If any councillor is to busy to talk to the tax payers then that councillor should stand down.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Perhaps someone can post this (alledged) internal TDC email somewhere?

    ReplyDelete
  17. SIMON: "There's none so blind ...."

    ANON: "The flying doctor should know there is nothing funny about myopia"

    SIMON: "I have been accused of cocking a deaf'n"

    ANON: "Dr M should know there is nothing funny about deaf aids"

    SIMON: " I have even been accused of going off half cock"

    ANON: "Now he is subliminally promoting Margate's "Little Willie" exhibition does he never stop at favouring Margate ?"

    SIMON: "And it was not TDC decision to build Turner Centre"

    ANON: "See how that Moores passes the buck. Why didn't he build Ramsgate a Turner Centre ?"

    SIMON: "Now I admit to being a little confused"

    ANON: "There's nothing funnty about dementia Dr Moores"

    SIMON: "It seems I can't say anything right"

    ANON: "Now he protests about people objecting to his advocating his political stance. Next he will be expecting to do that in order to seek peoples' votes in democratically held elections"

    SIMON: "I just can't win"

    ANON: "And I can't figure how you became a councillor. You shouldn't have won even though you got a majority of the votes mate"


    I am actually beginning to feel a bit sorry for Simon.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Not sure what you mean by promoting Margate's 'Little Willie' exhibition in the last rambling comment. Why for one moment you think Turner should have been built n Ramsgate is anyone's guess as the purpose was to act as a catalyst for the regeneration of Ramsgate.

    As for insults, they are very different to being frank. Our favourite troll peddles the insults allegation here and everywhere else at every opportunity. In fact i simply write what I think and actually take the time to share my views. What you make of them is up to you.

    You can choose politicians who lead from the front and have a progressive view of the future or you can suffer the rather tired Punch and Judy politics of the past, which achieves little for the island and even less for its future.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oops I meant regeneration of Margate but you know what I mean ... Blame my Ipad

    ReplyDelete
  20. Cllr/dr Moores you must get rid of that ipad. The last time it gave you grief was when you likened Margate's leading blogger to a beached whale and blamed your ipad.

    Its not that Ramsgate wanted a building like the TC to house art exhibitions but the £16 millions spend on it by KCC/SEEDA/the Art council could have been spread around Thanet.
    On top of the capital sum there is an ongoing £2 millions a year burden on local and national tax payers to keep the TC running.
    Time will tell whether its money down the drain but one local newspaper group has no faith in the future and appears to be pulling out of East Kent.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I think that in the past that monies budgeted for the power boat event at Ramsgate were transfered to the "air show at Margate" and the power boat event was not held, is a fair indication that margate is the preferred area to spend money. Also the fact that the "air show" also took over the weekend in June that the power boat event was held is a pretty fair indication of the direction given by elected members.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Both previous comments are quite incorrect.

    Firstly as i thought everyone in Thanet knew by now, the money for Turner was for a gallery only. If we didnt want it in Margate then it wold have simply have gone elsewhere and the result has in fact proved very succesful on the visitor figures so far.

    Secondly, the council has a shrinking budget for a limited number of local events and this is shared beween the main towns. When we plan and budget around these theres no swapping of A to B but rather a costs benefits exercise in regard to tourism etc

    'Simples' as a Meerkat might say and if you use an IPad then you'll understand how keyboard errors pop up. No different to using our mobie phone but just bigger!

    Ive had my say here now and don't plan to add anymore

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  23. At the least it was pretty poor "planning" having the air show & the power boat event on at the same weekend, yeah?

    ReplyDelete
  24. Simon you say,

    "Firstly as i (sic) thought everyone in Thanet knew by now"; and

    "'Simples' as a Meerkat might say and if you use an IPad then you'll understand how keyboard errors pop up. No different to using our mobie (sic - German) phone but just bigger!"

    Simon, these remarks are gratuitous and do not advance your argument. Rather they hinder it.

    I suggest that you moderate your language and adopt a more amiable tone. I think you will discover that people are more easily persuaded this way.

    You tell us,"You can choose politicians who lead from the front and have a progressive view of the future or you can suffer the rather tired Punch and Judy politics of the past, which achieves little for the island and even less for its future."

    With respect Simon, I do not understand the point that you are making here. At the risk of being frank your remarks may sound to some as rather pompous.

    Simon, Please let us know how you personally are working to make the Island a better place. You have a fine example in Laura Sandys who is probably the best constituency MP that we have had for many years.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I have just sent the following feedback to TDC customer services and would recommend that anyone wishing to improve this situation does something similar.

    Subject: banner
    Date: 27/07/2011 09:59:38 GMT Daylight Time
    From: MichaelChild@aol.com
    Reply To:
    To: customer.services@thanet.gov.uk

    Hi there, at the moment the header banner on the council’s website is promoting one past event and asking people’s opinions about another, it mostly seems to be stuck on The Big Event but occasionally flickers, like a out of order neon sign, to promoting Margate Masters, an event that has already gone.

    As the council’s website is tagged to attract people using internet search engines, who are trying to find out what’s on in Thanet, it is very important that the promotion of major events there is kept up to date.

    A high proportion of people using internet search engines and putting in the phrases tagged on the council’s website, like “what’s on in Thanet” are likely to arrive at the council’s website, see only past major events represented and make the reasonable assumption that there is no major event either on, or forthcoming, in Thanet.

    The major event on at the moment is Ramsgate Week and the major forthcoming event is Folk Week.

    Can you please update the council’s main header banner to represent what is actually on and forthcoming?

    Best regards Michael

    ReplyDelete
  26. I agree John, Laura Sandys is superb. We're fortunate to have two mps who genuinely care & campaign for Thanet, & our Cllrs could learn a lot by following their example.

    ReplyDelete
  27. "Firstly as i thought everyone in Thanet knew by now, the money for Turner was for a gallery only."

    Ah yes. The magic pot of taxpayers' money that is only for building art galleries. Our museums and other amenities can decay and crumble, but millions are available to build art galleries. I would have thought that any thinking person would agree with me that this is a load of b*ll*cks. It is for people who live in an area to decide how their money is spent. Nobody should be disctating that you have to build an art gallery when you don't have the money to keep your museums open and your sports and leisure facilities are falling to pieces.

    ReplyDelete

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