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The Street that Cut Everything


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Did anyone watch the BBC TV prog about a street in Preston that looked after its key services for 6 weeks, hosted by Nick Robinson?

 

Here is a link that you can watch for the next three days:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b011crrw

 

Did it change you view about the council and council services, people, communitees etc and would your street be able to do without councils services :?:

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There are certainly a number of services that I don't feel I could be completely without and so recognise that I need to pay for them one way or another.

 

Whether a bureaucratic public sector monopoly is the best, most accountable, or most cost effective way of delivering them is another question altogether!

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It was interesting to see how some people objected to paying for things at the start and then began to see how they were impacted later on when they needed the support of their neighbours. In one example a lady need care and help for her father who was not in the street, which triggered a hedge debate with a single parent.

 

Committees were formed and conflicts arose about how decisions were made.

 

The streets lights were switched off, bins emptied in the road and the bins taken away so that the street had to organise it's own lights and refuse collection.

 

And then a team of dogs were sent in to poo in the street and graffiti sprayed overnight. They had to find ways of cleaning and whilst remaining within the rules.

 

A bit of a nightmare all round??

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And then a team of dogs were sent in to poo in the street and graffiti sprayed overnight.

 

 

so a bit like Bewsey then!!

 

....but seriously, since when does the council clear up dog poo and remove grafitti?

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Given time, a customer base of more than just one street, and an orderly handover rather than an abrupt switch-off of council services, the private sector would soon develop and bring to market alternatives to pretty much all of the current local council services.

 

Individual customers could then select the point in the quality of service vs. cost trade-off that they were happy with - rather than having a one size fits all solution foisted upon them.

 

If the council run services were able to compete on a level playing field then good luck to them - they would at least start with the massive advantage of the existing customer base. If they can't, then it would become obvious that they are currently wasting our hard earned money through inefficiency.

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The historical reality is somewhat different - the private sector undercut the competition to win the tender, then having achieved a monopoly position, gradually increase the price. They are in it for profit NOT to provide a public service - and cheap gets cheap. :roll:

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And the public sector shows very clearly that expensive doesn't mean good!

 

The mistake which has been made in the past is to tender out services whilst preserving their artificial monopoly status.

 

Allowing real competition between suppliers would lead to a number of different service providers of any particular service which customers could chose between.

 

An individual customer could then select, for example, the refuse collection service which best suited them on service criteria such as frequency of collection, size and type of bin, degree of separation of recyclables, on-demand collections, collection of large items, weight or volume of refuse based pricing - and then pay for the service they actually use and value. And pay for it accordingly.

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You don't think that we have a host of wannabee refuse companies waiting out there, with plant equipment and employees marking time till they win a contract? Existing contractors would take over the existing plant and employees, and reduce costs by raiding the working conditions of employees and cutting corners etc. As for personal service (size of bin etc), clearly a fragmentation would increase costs, and no doubt cause a bigger queue of trucks at the landfill site - or maybe we could build even more landfill sites - sure residents would love that. :roll:

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with 12 houses only in our street I could see the chaos that would ensue if each house had a different bin collection. just imagine twelve different binwagons all trying to get down the street just to empty one bin. after that imagine what it would be like on say lovely lane. Be like one of those cult movies about convoys off trucks trolling down the highways. but with out the daft music and very little movement due to the fact that they would have gridlocked the town in ten minutes flat.

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