The proposed consultation on wheelie bins was discussed at Scrutiny last week, and from what I understand, it’s looking like the consultation which is trying its best NOT to consult!
The refuse service is a service which CAN and DOES deliver leaflets to each household in the city. We have had several over the years (when the Conservatives were in charge) mostly giving informaton about recycling and what you can or can’t put in the recycling boxes. Such leaflets are normally delivered with the regular delivery of black bags – so costs are kept to a minimum. It’s an efficient and cost effective way to reach every house in the city.
So I had assumed (wrongly as it turns out) that’s what would happen with the wheelie bin consultation. Apparently not.
Although details haven’t yet been finalised, I understand the Labour Council’s consultation on wheelie bins is likely to be done in the following ways:
On line (not helpful for the many people, predominantly the elderly, who don’t use computers) and many people who do use them won’t find out about it – because if you don’t know something’s there, you don’t go looking for it
By picking up a leaflet from somewhere like a library (rather than having one put through your door) – again the resident has to make the effort to find out they’re being asked
With groups such as the People’s Panel – ie. just a select few people, not the vast majority
With Social Landlords – but not their tenants. How elitist is that? And to rub salt into the wound, Council estates weren’t even going to be included but Cllr Robert Alden (Conservative Erdington) suggested HLBs should be added to cover them. I should think so. But even so, it’s typical Labour to think it’s okay to consult with just the landlord and not the tenants.
District Commitees – these are the committees which only last May Labour said were NOT the places for residents to have their say, and anyway they now take place in the day time in the Council House so most residents can’t come. It’s the Ward Committees which residents attend and where any consultation surely should take place – but apparently it’s not going to. In other words, Labour just wants to consult with the Councillors about what roads may or may not be suitable for wheelie bins – and not with the people who actually LIVE in those roads! A Ward Committee would have given residents the chance to voice their opinions, an item on the District Committee won’t because residents are not entitled to speak. Consulting with people at a meeting where they are not allowed to speak – that’s not much of a consultation, is it? That really looks like Labour are running scared!
As I say, exact details have not yet been finalised. So there is still time for Labour to change their minds. Let’s hope they do. Otherwise they’re going to be presiding over a consultation which looks to be doing its very best NOT to consult with the vast majority of the thousands of residents who are going to be affected by the introduction of wheelie bins.
Why would Labour not want to talk to the residents of Birmingham about such an important matter? Could it possibly be because they are afraid of what they might say?