Saturday, May 31, 2008

Raising Expectations

A few months ago the Environment Select committee which I chair produced its report on managing cemeteries and memorials. While carrying out the scrutiny we asked lots of people visiting the cemeteries for their opinion of what we currently do and how it should change. At the end of the review we wrote to everyone who'd given us their address telling them what had been decided. Unfortunately we didn't put in the letter that it would take months to draw up an action plan and then a long time to implement it because so much needed doing! As a result I've had a lady contact me now, complaining that she'd read the letter and the article in the press and acted accordingly, removing things from her husband's grave but the family with the next grave along haven't. As a result her husband's grave is suffering from the effects of some of the artefacts on this over-embellished plot. Why haven't we done what we said we were going to do and enforced our new policy? The explanation that it takes so much time to set the enforcement in place sounded like a feeble excuse to her, and I can't blame her. At times the council is like a huge tanker at sea - it takes an awful long time between deciding to change course and seeing it happen. Meanwhile people get frustrated and think we've forgotten or they're being mis-led. Fortunately the officers who worked with us on producing the new policy are among the best in the council and one of them is going to speak to the lady concerned and see what can be done in the short term until we've got the enforcement system up and running.
On a much brighter note a happy coincidence of timing of a visit and weather meant that instead of just collecting some Fairtrade goodies from a friend and dashing off again we sat out in the garden and had coffee (before dashing off to our respective next jobs). The birds were singing, the flowers were beautiful and just for half an hour the world seemed to be at peace.

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