It takes some effort to report a problem. First of all the problem needs to exceed a certain threshold before you are even likely to report it. Your partner may be as far as your public spirited efforts reach. But your very bored partner is getting fed up with the growing inventory of faults you identify and suggests you Google it and tell the relevant authority.
So here goes:
“report a road defect to east lothian council”
The result and prompts are interesting.
- Dunbar Community Council has a page that ranks higher than the local council one.
- East Lothian Council’s website comes second, but highlights general complaints and sick animals more prominently than road defects or potholes, a favourite local issue to complain about.
I go back and find the 3rd result features potholes, but the page is sufficiently cluttered that I do not see it at first and use the on page browser search to find it.
Click “report a pothole” takes me to another website, a web app run by wdm.co.uk who have a piece of asset management software that ELC use, but with no ELC branding or warning that you are being propelled elsewhere, but ‘hey ho’ I know what I am doing, don’t I?
My issue is not life threatening (most people know to call the police, ambulance or fire brigade for life threatneing things don’t they?) so I hit “Continue”. And I get to a map, but a sketchy one and bit slippy, so I have to use the location search.
Next up, I don’t know the precise name of the pothole, nor its exact geographic co-ordinates, and none of the prompts are helpful as I don’t my A road numbers from my B roads.
The pothole in question is on the slip road off the A1 to the old A1 at Broxmouth, which I now know is the A1087 – the old A1.
“Broxmouth A1” gets me close enough and I am familiar with the lie of the land here. The nearest record is:-
As I zoom in I realise that I’ve no idea whose responsibility it is, but guessing now that it is probably not ELC, rather Bear Scotland. They surely have an integrated defect reporting system that all can tap into, no?
And if not – I am here now, so ELC are going to have to deal with it and pass it on.
No. Their very clever system knows it is not theri responsibility and has no ability to pass it on, not even suggesting who to call. So much for joining things up.
I’ve lost count of the number of steps to get nowhere. Anyway, armed with the info I gleaned I find a few steps later the report a defect page at Bear. It is low tech form and it looks like the recatcha protection may not be working.
But what the hell, I hit submit and it works. I get an email back a few seconds later.
Except I want to add something to the report, which included a comment about the junction safety …
But fixmystreet.com, which I stumbled across in the early 2010s was able to deal with the whole thing a lot more easily.The phone app has location services and doesn’t require you to use Google or wade through a badly constructed website first.
I reported a bollard, broken obstructing a path using the council’s service and it does vaguely work. No sign up is required but while you will get a report number (W22307580) the report does not appear on the map, so the user might naturally keep trying or give up.
Anyway at least now we know why your partner knows all about the problem. Most authorities seem to put in place systems which dissuade you from reporting something unless it it is life or property threatening, in which case the competent authority is probably an emergency service.