10/02/2015

Dundee City Council Consumer Survey

At the Policy and Resources Committee  (pages 8-15) last night the council considered the Annual Consumer Survey.  This is an interesting piece of work, which cost a considerable amount of money.  It was then astonishing to hear the leader of the council rubbish his own report.  He said that the sample was not representative, if this is the case then we should stop paying for this service.  The leader of the council was convinced that the figure for the council having a 'Good Range of Services' was wrong.  I pointed out that if we are going to complain about parts of the survey which we do not like such as whether there is a 'Good Range of Services' which 69% of respondents said was the case then we also have to reject  100% of respondents who are satisfied with local schools for example.  Whilst the leader of the council was saying how poor the survey was, officers were standing by its conclusions.  I will be asking officers for a briefing on the methodology of the survey and for details of costs and whether the council plans to engage the same company in the future to carry out these surveys.

It is important that the council listens to the views of the people of Dundee.  There are many ways in which this can be done and having a survey of customer satisfaction strikes me as one way of listening to the people of Dundee.  It was peculiar to say the least to listen to the leader of council criticise a report which he brought forward and had placed on the agenda of the meeting.

09/02/2015

Recycling Changes in Dundee

As many people will be aware Dundee City Council is in the process of changing its recycling regimes across the city.  We need to move forward and make progress and deliver changes which will improve the environment of our city.  These changes will have a profound impact across the city, with just about everyone in the city experiencing changes over the next couple of years.

I have always had some concerns that the council is not consulting about proposals rather it is implementing changes and holding information events.  I am concerned that if the people of Dundee have not 'bought into' these changes then we may face problems with implementation.

At the Environment Committee tonight I asked for an update on the progress of the implementation of these changes.  I was slightly disappointed that the Convener told me that the committee was not the place for such a discussion.  He did however, give a commitment to arrange for briefings for councillors on this important issue.  I am clear that I want to see these changes work and I look forward to receiving further details.

Time for Scottish Government Action on Private Parking Racketeering

 

I am very concerned about the disgraceful practices of some private parking providers.  Before Christmas I wrote to the Scottish Government about this and I received a response from Derek McKay, Minister for Transport, which you can read above.  Mr McKay informed me that he would be meeting with Citizen's Advice Scotland to discuss their 'It's Not Fine' campaign.  I have written to Mr McKay asking for an update on that meeting and requesting that action is taken to regulate the private parking sector.  I think that it is time for the Scottish Government to take action.  People in Dundee and right across Scotland are having money extorted from them by these companies on at best a dubious legal basis.

 

I will also be asking Dundee City Council to look at whether we can use licensing or planning legislation to clamp down on these organisations which are unregulated.  Could the council make conditions on a planning application that would prevent unregulated parking providers charging ridiculous amounts of money for parking, or pretending that they were issuing fines.

 

I support the campaign by Citizen'sAdvice Scotland on this issue.  There is a real need for regulation of private parking charges. The Scottish Government should take decisive action against these companies which are extorting money off people in Scotland.