York residents are about to get a third leaflet through their letter box about coronavirus. The first was a small yellow leaflet which apparently didn’t reach every household (the leafleters quit).
The second letter came from the Prime Minister.
Neither missive revealed anything that people would not have already picked up from the TV, radio, web sites or social media.
They might have been some solace for those living alone or those detached from modern technology. Perhaps less of a consultation when readers found they were referred to web sites for further information.
Now the Council leadership is apparently writing to everyone. The letter should arrive – via Royal Mail – over the next few days.
The, no doubt well intentioned initiative, makes the same mistakes.
The situation is changing rapidly. What is true, or a high priority, one day may have been overtaken by events the following day.
Even judging by today’s standards, there is nothing new in the letter (see copy below).
It pointedly fails to reassure about the resilience of key public services. The basics for living are power (heating, lighting), shelter, water, security, food and (for some) health care.
The tricky subject of home food deliveries (for everyone) has still not been addressed. There is no comprehensive list of stock levels or food suppliers who will deliver to doorsteps.
Even basic Council services don’t get much prominence despite green waste collections having been abandoned and a mixed recycling presentation introduced earlier today.
Apparently, the letter will also include a card giving contact details of local ward Councillors. Now leaving aside the possibility that these representatives should already by now have made themselves known in the local community, what services can they provide in the current civil emergency?
Some don’t have contact telephone numbers listed on the Council web site. Some aren’t answering emails, others are isolating on medical advice.
So thanks to the front line staff who are all working hard and effectively.
Senior management at the York Council, on the other hand, needs to do more to address the basic needs of all its citizens.
Patronising, outdated or superficial letters aren’t helpful.