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Many people think that elected politicians are out of touch. "They just don’t understand. If they only knew what its really like", we hear people say!
So I’m on a mission to do some of the jobs myself, or at least to experience first hand the services our taxes provide.
A couple of week’s ago I spent a day out with the recycling crew working with them, doing their job. I wore the uniform, the gloves, the lot. I asked to work in the Northfield Ward I represent, even collecting the recycling from my own road. Most households put out their recycling properly in the boxes and bags.
But it was an eye opener! Its not surprising that some recycling is not collected when you see what some people put in. There was broken glass. One green box contained what should have gone down the toilet. Another green box even had three large jam jars filled with cigarette butts in water. The crew certainly earned their money that day.
I’ve also spent time in the classroom of the school for children with special needs, where I’m a governor; even teaching one of the classes myself, under the watchful eye of the class teacher. I regularly join the local police on walkabouts, experiencing some of their concerns first hand.
Next week I shall spend a whole day with Ealing Council’s customer services team. I’ll find out what its like to receive calls for housing repairs, missed rubbish collections, council tax queries and the hundred and one reasons people have for phoning into the council or visiting Perceval House.
Maybe it comes from my lifetime working in the commercial world, where the customer is king. You pay for a service and expect to receive a fair service in return. As citizens we pay our taxes and we expect our public services to be responsive to us in return.
Ealing Council should treat its residents fairly and with respect, and it’s my goal to ensure that they do a better job.