Technology No Substitute for a Council Workforce

paston07:42 Friday 11th July 2014
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON: The latest app. taking the county by storm is the My Peterborough app. It was launched earlier this week. The idea behind it is the public can use the app. to report problems like potholes, rubbish or missed bin collections. Well Johnny D. was one of the first people to use it. He reported that someone had dumped rubbish on Norwood Lane in the city. So how fast is the app.? Has the rubbish been cleared away within 48 hours? Well Johnny D. has been back to Norwood Lane this morning.

JOHN DEVINE: Paul, the big question is has the rubbish gone or not. Well I’m not going to tell you yet, because I am back here on Norwood Lane, Newborough. It’s not far from the city centre of Peterborough, dubbed by the Daily Mail in 2011 as perhaps Britain’s worst fly-tipping hot-spot. It’s off Newborough Road, near the A1139, A47 and A16 road junctions. It’s about half a mile long, and there’s no through road. So let’s take us back now to Wednesday 9th July when I downloaded the My Peterborough app. on my smartphone, which I found very simple to download and very simple to use. On that same day, 9th July, I reported some fly-tipping on Norwood Lane, just in front of me here. And that fly-tipping was an MDF-style wardrobe that had in effect been smashed up and left on the side of the road. It looked quite awful, so that was the thing I reported. So that was reported at about 7:01 am on 9th July, Wednesday. And then almost immediately, very encouragingly, at about .. well it was exactly 7:08 am .. seven minutes later, I got an email back from My Peterborough saying “issued submitted”, and I received a tracking number, so I thought wheyhey, this is good. Later on that day at approximately 2:30 pm, I got another email saying “the status of your issue has changed to received.” So I’m thinking this is alright. This is moving on nicely. Then yesterday, Thursday 10th July, I got another email at 8:17 am in the morning and it said “issue now in progress.” And I thought this is really moving well beautifully now. Anyway the upshot is I’ve come here and now the bad news Paul. Not only is the MDF wardrobe still lying there, all smashed up, it’s been joined by some friends. There’s now a wooden pallet to the left hand side of that. Then further on there are now three or four big heaps of what looks like to me from here hardcore, like bricks. And there’s a builder’s bucket, there’s some sort of rope and string mixed up with it, and I’ll get some pictures for Facebook. But the upshot is it’s actually worse than it was. So it hasn’t been cleared up. The stuff hasn’t gone. And it’s been joined by more rubbish friends. So there you are.
PAUL STAINTON: So what is the point of the app., if it’s not being cleared away within 48 hours? And not only that, the situation has got worse. Don’t worry. We’ll be on to the council. We’ll be trying to find out how quickly they expect to clear these things up.