Lack of Consultation Record Creates a Stink

I came across this fascinating article about what happens when we don’t keep a record of whether or not we have consulted certain groups.  The topic, whilst serious, does tickle me.

According to this article in the Epsom Guardian, a residents’ association fighting to stop the closure of a public toilet has angrily hit back at claims by its own councillors that it did not consult them before launching the campaign.

Apparently, last week the Epsom Guardian reported Epsom and Ewell Residents’ Association councillors claiming they were caught by surprise when Stoneleigh and Auriol Residents’ Association (SARA) voted to start a campaign last week against the closure of the only public toilet in the area.

The chairman of the RA group, Councillor Robert Leach, who represents Auriol ward, told the Epsom Guardian that the Stoneleigh association: “has not debated or discussed the issues with the councillors first” and Councillor Christine Long also said she was unaware of the campaign until she saw it on the residents’s association website.

But SARA has insisted a meeting between the residents’ association and its councillors took place prior to the launch of the campaign.

A statement by Mike Sampson, SARA’s Secretary, on its website, reads: “I was astonished to read Auriol Ward RA Councillor Robert Leach’s inaccurate and misleading statement in the Epsom Guardian that SARA had decided to launch its STOP campaign to prevent the closure of Stoneleigh’s only public convenience when ‘it has not debated or discussed the issue with the councillors first’.”

“Not only did I attend a two-hour meeting on February 26, with Councillor Leach to discuss the way forward on the issue, accompanied by SARA’s chairman, but the matter was discussed at length during SARA’s general committee meeting on Friday, March 12 at which Coun Leach, Councillor Chris Long and all SARA councillors except the Deputy Mayor (Councillor Alan Winkworth) were present.

“After a long debate on the matter, the General Committee voted to commence a campaign against the closure of Stoneleigh’s toilets on behalf of our members and Coun Leach made no proposal whatsoever to delay the start of the STOP campaign while further talks were held.

There is a lesson in this for all good consultors.  That is to always keep a record of consultation events and meetings, who was present and what was said.  This way if you are challenged like SARA then your excellent records will help to stop your consultation going down the pan!

Find out more about this story and SARA’s campaign at its website stoneleighandauriol.co.uk.

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