GRIT! It’s the topic of the moment.
Mainly as today’s Cancer featured a letter on the subject of grit from a resident of Barton Hill that provoked a response from Bristol City Council that manages to reach a whole new level of idiocy and arseholism even by their standards.
Here’s the letter:
JUST a passing thought about the Bristol City Council housing department.
Where does the duty of care lie, after all I do still have a document (produced by Housing services) where one of the key roles of the caretakers is : Under the heading “Task” it states “Adverse weather – snow/ice – paths into and out of each location should be gritted to prevent injury to tenants.”
Or could it be that the afore mentioned “reorganisation and restructuring” has decided that the duty of care is beyond their collective control. I just wonder how much time and effort will be spent by the council legal team sorting out the legal implications any impending legal action? But, maybe that comes from another fund – like the CEO’s coffee fund maybe?
So, in the likelihood that there is someone out there who is still morally obligated to the duty of care, when will the ice be moved from the footpaths around the blocks of flats, in particular Eccleston House, Phoenix House, Barton House and Corbett House? All of these have inclines to which all residents must walk/slide and fall to exit the residencies. If for no other reason to clog up the A&E at the Royal Infirmary, having fallen.
Yours awaiting meals on wheels (has no one told you that they have suspended the service “Too dangerous for staff to venture out”).
Philip Morris, Barton Hill.
And now standby for the response from the council, which must be an extremely early favourite for ‘Bristol City Council PR disaster of the year 2010’.
Reply from Steve Durnell, Caretaking Services Manager: Thank you for your email raising concerns about gritting of walkways and footpaths to council properties receiving a caretaking service.
The document on the website that you quote is dated 2004 and is currently out of date. I have arranged for it to be updated to reflect the current position. I would apologise for this oversight on our part.
Our legal services section have previously advised us not to grit as this could leave the city council open to legal action.
Rather than do nothing we do attempt to ensure that grit is available for residents to use at their own discretion. You may be aware that a decision was made by the leader of the council to make an exception in respect of our Supported Housing for Older People. As a “one-off” measure access to these 28 schemes will be gritted.
However the current weather conditions and consequent issues around gritting has prompted a reconsideration of the position. Further legal advice is being sought and this may lead to changes in our policy where icy conditions prevail. If this is the case we will make sure any changes are publicised. I hope the above addresses some of your concerns.
I’d really like to know who told Durnell it was a good idea to come out with that in the local newspaper. Here’s some observations.
1. Surely about 99% of the population – on hearing that an elderly Bristolian receiving meals on wheels needed his path clearing of snow and ice – would just go and bloody do it? Moreover, surely someone in Mr Durnell’s privileged position, even if he was too busy sat behind his desk (doing what I don’t know as the policy he should be sat behind his desk writing doesn’t appear to exist), could rustle up a few of his staff to go and clear this sodding path?
2. Even if Mr Durnell is so sadly embittered about life and the people he’s paid to serve that he lacks common courtesy and decency, mightn’t he have at least taken on board his boss Jan Ormondroyd’s instructions to be more customer focussed? Any corporate enterprise, purely from business self-preservation, surely would have gone and done what their customer asked for under the existing contract they had? Firstly, it’s called good customer service and secondly it’s called good PR because it keeps a potentially embarrassing story out of the press that could have a hugely negative impact on your business and reputation.
3. Why is Mr Durnell’s document out of date? And surely it’s current until it’s formally replaced? You can’t just pull it off the website and announce a new policy on the basis of a rumour, er sorry, top quality ‘legal advice’ that doesn’t appear to have been written down anywhere?
4. “Our legal services section have previously advised us not to grit as this could leave the city council open to legal action.”! This is bollocks. There’s actually a very small chance in certain freak circumstances that the council could be open to legal action for gritting elderly residents’ paths. This is just pseudo-legalistic ‘elf ‘n’ safety mumbo-jumbo excuses being used by the city council to cut costs and staff isn’t it?
5. Am I the only one embarrassed to live in a city where the local authority has basically told a vulnerable resident to sod off and clear their own path of snow and ice because there’s a small off-chance it might cost them some money?
6. When Mr Durnell shows up on Monday morning can someone give him the bollocking of a lifetime then stick a shovel in his hand and pack him off to Barton Hill pronto please?
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