Council response times

Tue 5 May 2015, 11:16 am

By Huub Nieuwstadt

I am conducting a survey of local authorities to find out how many are setting up housing companies or are planning on doing so.

It is too early to draw any conclusions yet, but the speed and manner in which councils have responded to the survey has caught my interest.

The survey request was sent to each council’s generic information and enquiries email address. I contacted around 300 local authorities in this manner, on 20 April 103 councils had responded – that’s about 33 per cent, which is unprecedented in my experience. Clearly, this is a subject of interest.

Who responded the fastest? Six councils responded on the same day I contacted them: Rossendale Borough Council was fastest, followed by East Cambridgeshire, Harrogate, West Oxfordshire/Cotswold District, Hambleton and Mole Valley. 

Of London’s local authorities, Waltham Forest responded most quickly, on 8 April. Wandsworth responded on 10 April, Hounslow and Harrow on 14 April.

How did they respond? For the survey I avoided the Freedom Of Information (FOI) route, to see what the effect was. Yet, so far, about half (27) of the responding local authorities have treated the enquiry as an FOI request. At the other responding councils, my email was forwarded by a customer support officer to a housing team officer, who dealt with the survey.

What are the outcomes? That’s the subject of a future blog…

 

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