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April 3rd, 2014 |

This Week’s Challenge

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We get around 150 – 250 unique visitors per day to onlineFOCUS , and we suppose that most of you are pretty good at using websites.

So we’d like to see how easy you find it to use the District Council website. The challenge is this :

Find out from the council website whether the public can ask questions at Full Council meetings.

If you can’t find the answer in 15 minutes, give up! Please let us know how you get on… And how many minutes it takes you.

15 Responses to “This Week’s Challenge”

  1. 1
    Corey Vost:

    I gave up after 4 minutes – in the search bar, I initially typed in “can the public ask questions at full council meetings?” got 59 pages of search results. So tried with “full council meetings” and got 48 pages of results. As the results included items on domestic abuse, I would question if the website search engine has any intelligence at all!

  2. 2
    Christine Paine:

    I join Corey – I give up. I tried public participation at council meetings, who can speak at council meetings, speaking at council meetings, public attendance at council meetings. I got a lot of information on public toilets, council tax payment, a pdf feedback form, who was leader of the council etc. etc. Nothing on whether or not the public could say anything. There were pages and pages of results on each search, none especially relevant to the question in the search bar. 10 minutes and I lost the will to live!

  3. 3
    Mark Lydford:

    After a bit of searching (not sure how long but it must have been over 10 minutes I found a link by searching for “rochford full council meeting rules of procedure part 4″ which gave me a link to this –

    http://www.rochford.gov.uk/council_and_democracy/constitution_of_the_council

    A search on the Rochford site of “constitution part 4″ also gets you to the section.

    In Part 4 section 10. Not exactly easy to find (if indeed I have found the correct thing) but I’m sure it wouldn’t be in the councils best interest to make it too easy.

  4. 4
    Jim Cripps:

    Had to smile at the word democracy in the link………..

  5. 5
    bruce smart:

    Rayleigh Town Council – look at any agenda on display in Council notice boards. There is always an agenda item which allows members of the public a chance to speak. Only briefly otherwise meetings could be never ending.

  6. 6
    The Mighty Oz:

    I think we need to take a small step back here, RDC bashing seems rife on this site now. For sure there are things going on that do not seem quite right BUT when I look around I see the town centre looking nice, the streets swept regularly, teams of people picking litter, grass verges being cut, Sweyne Park being well maintained and so on. So to all the Cleggy & Millibonkers supporters what would do to improve things with the current financial constraints…..

  7. 7
    Chris Black:

    Mark: you go to the top of the class.

    Oz: I appreciate the point, and always playing the same council-bashing tune on the piano would get pretty tedious. But it wouldn’t cost anything to provide more info on the RDC website about public question time, and this is something I will be asking about next week.

  8. 8
    Jim Cripps:

    Bruce at #5 – only if it is a subject they want you to talk about.

    Oz at # 6 – they also put up parking and turned the lights out , cancelled the two
    main ‘development’ items ( RTSSC / new School ) and will not make any meaningful
    road/ junction Improvements , but as long as the grass is cut………….
    And by the way I have no party political leanings , but do believe in democracy….JIM.

  9. 9
    Christine Paine:

    Oz certainly has a point, yes, all these things are being done, and being done pretty well in all fairness. However, the whole RDC Website is something I find less than user friendly. Looking up a planning application if you don’t know the number is hard, the map has so many little markers all close together it is hard to navigate, and searching by address when it is just “Land….” brings up all sorts of results you don’t want. I appreciate that the site has a massive amount of information tucked away in various dark corners, but it could be made more user friendly in lots of ways.

  10. 10
    Corey Vost:

    RDC had no part to play in the street lights being turned off, thats ECC (local councillors made recommendations in what roads remain lit, but ultimately the decision was ECCs)

  11. 11
    The Mighty Oz:

    Jim at 6

    I can understand your frustration but as I said at the end of my post “given the current financial constraints” . If money were no object I am sure we could have all we want but sadly we cannot.

    Anyway let’s not get into an endless debate over this one.

  12. 12
    Jim Cripps:

    Yes Corey and it will be ECC who are responsible for NOT upgrading Rawreth Lane and London Road – to cope with the RDC inspired plans to extend Rayleigh Westwards. It is always someone else’s responsibility Countryside>RDC>ECC>us!!!.

    But you are right Oz there is no point in the public debating – cracking article in the
    i Newspaper on that subject yesterday.

  13. 13
    Corey Vost:

    Sorry Jim, but not sure what you are getting at – you said in your post no8 that the street lights being turned off are RDCs responsibility, I pointed out that it has nothing to do with RDC – so where is passing the buck here? I live off Rawreth Lane, I know how congested this road is, but houses are needed, where do you suggest they go?

    As for the street lights – it’s funny that when ever I drive along Rawreth Lane or the A1245 past midnight – we’re the only car on the road. I do not see what the problem is, crime has not increased as all the doom-sayers predicted. We as a people have been spoilt with street lighting (which is not a legal requirement for the authority to supply), now it’s been turned off everyone is moaning. Personally, I would rather see stars at night than hideous orange lights, and am seriously hacked off that the street I live on is still lit past midnight.

  14. 14
    Christine:

    I gave up with the RDC website a long time ago as it can take forever to find out any information. What a difference a council makes though. If I want to find out anything about Bath and the surrounding areas their website is a dream to navigate.

  15. 15
    Jim Cripps:

    Corey – my original point was that grass cutting/ litter picking is a nice detail but little compensation for the impact on the local infrastructure that mass housing will have ie:- roads, schools, doctors-dentists, emergency services , a seat on the train even..).

    I accepted your ECC point ( by the way some RDC Cllr’s are also ECC Cllr’s) but I do
    not see that late night street lighting is an issue of the same magnitude as the concreting over of S E Essex ( all other area councils are doing the same thing) with
    no upgrading of the infrastructure (Hospital / Police / Fire Service/ Social services).

    Where to put them ( we don’t actually need them – that is election time feel good factor for the General Election next year) , as Princess Anne said recently in smaller numbers spread over a larger area on the Brown Field sites that were rejected by RDC because ‘ Developers’ prefer the larger more profitable sites ( Green Belt ).

    And my main point was , ask about infrastructure and it is ” pass the parcel” , and the further away from the source you get the less interest there is in doing anything , already cancelled the upgrade of RTSSC , the New Primary School and having contacted ECC there are no plans for Rawreth Lane and London Road.

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