A report in today's Daily Telegraph says that council officials refused to remove a mattress dumped on an embankment because it would require four men and a JCB!
This was as a result of a risk assessment carried out by a council official who looked into what was involved! In the end, two local residents dragged it to the roadside (which they said took them four minutes) and the council later condescended to collect it in a van.
In a similar manner, I reported to our County Council in November last, that one of their trees outside my house was potentially dangerous as one of the branches had broken off in the winds. In February, I got a letter saying that the tree would be examined by their arbourologist when he was next in the area and he would advise as to any necessary action.
Now, although I was firmly in favour of Councils privatising some of their activities, there was much to be said for the "odd job men" that councils had in the old days. There were usually two of them in a small truck which carried an assortment of tools, ladder, a few paving stones, etc. They would go to minor tasks, make their own safety assessment and usually fix the problems, whether it was an overhanging tree, a dumped mattress, a small pot hole or a broken paving stone. If they felt the task was beyond them, when they got back to base, they'd arrange for someone more appropriate to deal with it.
These days, a "suit" in a posh car has to first look at the job, make a safety assessment and no doubt fill in dozens of forms before a contract is let to some company to carry out the work, which I imagine costs more per job than the old fashioned method cost in a week.
But then they are spending our money, not their own.
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