I recently found out that Amey Customer Relations staff regularly hold drop-in sessions to allow residents to raise issues/concerns/queries relating to the Streets Ahead programme.
I got to one of these last week along with four other Sheffield residents hoping for answers to a number of matters that had been concerning us and also to make some suggestions on improvements that we felt should be made. No problems were solved but suggestions were noted and some explanations were forthcoming, so yes, I felt that the exercise was worthwhile.
I now know that rather than (try to) use the city council’s on-line reporting system, cumbersome in the extreme, or phone in with problems, which can be rather protracted, Amey can pinpoint the location of problems from the number on the nearest lamp-post and this, along with snapshots of the problem can be sent via email instead. It remains to be seen whether this was just a PR exercise or if Amey will take some of the suggestions forward.
At least Amey is trying to communicate with us, ordinary Sheffield residents and give us an opportunity to air our concerns.
In fact, a lot of the discussion centred round effective communication (including advertising these events). It did leave me wondering just how much blame for problems with the contract could fairly be levelled at Amey and how much the council must accept responsibility for.
It’s regrettable that the council will not be more transparent over the contract it negotiated or be more open to hearing our legitimate concerns. Who doesn’t want better surfaces for our roads and pavements – but not at any cost. The current administration seems to prefer to play the blame game rather than listen.
How can this serve the best interests of our city?