23/11/2009

More can be less when it comes to leaflets

Penri James's blog quite rightly draws attention to Ceredigion Council’s recently published ‘Highways During Winter/Priffyrdd Dros y Gaeaf' leaflet. This was sent out to absolutely everyone on the county’s electoral roll, resulting in some households receiving four separate copies in different envelopes.

The issue was raised in last week's Highways Scrutiny Committee who were told that the Council employed a private contractor to distribute the leaflets for a fixed fee on the basis of one for every household. For their own reasons the contractor chose to send their leaflets out the way they did without any additional cost to the Council.

This led to a bit of head scratching in the committee followed by the supposition, and it was supposition, that the contractor must have had the software to send one leaflet to each elector very easily but that employing someone to manually reduce their electoral list down to single households would have cost them more than the extra leaflets. Still, as one councillor pointed out, although the additional leaflets didn’t cost the Council any more, there’s been some wastage somewhere and four identical envelopes on the door mat didn't look good. When you’re a local council, being seen to be economical is almost as important as actually being economical.

Council officers accepted that, as part of any future contract, they’d actually have to spell it out - that one leaflet for every household means just that, and more is less in the eyes of the public.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks Alun for the explanation but it raises another issue. Commercial companies operate of a profit making basis, it must have been commercially viable for them to send out multiple copies per household. It begs the question therefore how much was the fee paid by the Council? A commercial company would distribute multiple copies (i) because they are incompetent and cannot interpret the wishes of the local authority, (ii) the wishes of the local authority were not clear, or (iii) the fee was so generous it facilitated the distribution multiple copies. Interesting!

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  2. Does this mean that if you are not on the electoral roll you don't drive?
    Surely there is a data set out there that just the address of every single household in Ceredigion...I say surely when in fact I know there is...it's called address point and is supplied by Ordnance Survey "ADDRESS-POINT is a detailed dataset that uniquely identifies and locates all residential, business and public postal addresses in Great Britain" (www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/products/addresspoint)

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