This is the full text of my letter about declining standards in Camden's performance recently published in both our local newspapers, the Ham & High and the Camden New Journal:
Camden residents are increasingly telling me that the Council is a very different authority to the one that was rated top in the country just four years ago. Here are a few examples of a serious decline in standards:
- Complaints made by residents online are disappearing into a black hole and going unanswered – Camden have said it may take up to six months to sort this out;
- There have been numerous cases of car owners not receiving reminders to renew their parking permits and still being harshly punished when they don’t renew on time;
- The opening of the new Academy and special school on Adelaide Road has been severely delayed, as has that of Emmanuel School in West Hampstead;
- Camden forgot to post letters to tenants and leaseholders who use the housing office at 156 West End Lane that the office is due to close this month – resulting in a last-moment and wasteful rush to get letters out by first class post.
These are just a few cases of Camden letting down residents – who pay a very high Council tax.
Yes, this is a tough time for local councils who are having to find savings. I understand that this is bound to have an impact on staff morale, so this is a time for strong leadership in Camden.
Instead, the ruling Labour party seems to be more obsessed with its internal power struggles than in running Camden as its residents deserve. It’s not surprising that there are so many failings in services when there has been so much squabbling at the top. In the last two years we’ve seen a change of leader, a new chief executive, four different people responsible for schools and young people’s services and three different councillors in charge of waste collection and recycling.
At national level, Labour have the luxury of criticising the government at every turn without saying what they would do instead. When they are in charge, as here in Camden, they seem to be making a hash of it.
Cllr Keith Moffitt
Leader of the Opposition and of Camden Liberal Democrat Group