Local residents complain: Key BCP Council services no longer contactable by phone

1 July 2022

Kate Salmon at Bournemouth Town Hall [now Civic Centre]Older residents have been phoning Kate Salmon, Green Party speaker for Moordown, to report that they are no longer able to contact by telephone BCP Council services they depend on. 

The Council has moved to web-based contact systems. Yet our conurbation has over 86,200 residents aged over 65. An estimated 24,000+ of these don’t use the internet [basis: Age UK research]. 

Hard-working local campaigner Kate Salmon says: “I’ve been getting phone calls from Moordown residents who aren’t online. They’ve found that Council services they need no longer take telephone requests. I’ve helped one local older resident unable to request an extra bin needed for her medical waste –I had to email the Council for her. “

"BCP want everyone to contact them online because it saves them money. They’re so short of funds after 12 years of Conservative council cuts. Yet they don’t seem to have allowed for the local age profile.

“I’ve written to the Council, expressing concern and asking what they’re doing to make contacting them accessible again for all residents.”

Now councillors are raising that some BCP Council staff are contactable only by email while they’re working from home.

Chris Rigby's Council speech backed the mounting criticismsGreen Councillor Chris Rigby spoke at Council backing the mounting criticisms. He said later: “I’m a big advocate for working from home, I work from home. But you’ve got to be working from home. If certain Council staff are saying ‘I’m working from home so email me’, there might be an issue.” 

Cllr Rigby told councillors this is linked to a wider cultural problem: BCP’s 76 councillors do not get space for scrutiny or cooperation. The Leader and his Cabinet (all Conservatives) hold the power, backed by a strong whip.

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