Our fabulous team of volunteers are working in four hour shifts (5 volunteers per shift, three shifts per day) to data-capture five constituencies-worth of marked electoral registers. The scale of this task is remarkable; in the next 5 days we are aiming to data-capture over a quarter of a million pieces of information. I am hugely grateful to the 45 volunteers who have given up their time in the run-up to Christmas to help us with this laborious task.
This morning two further sets of marked registers arrived from our local councils. (For the record, marked registers are sold by local authorities to political parties at a high price which covers the cost of the photocopying and makes a margin for the tax payer). Both constituencies have the same number of residents (within 10%) so technically both piles of paperwork should be similar.
Here they are:
I won't embarrass either of the councils highlighted, but it's worth noting that the Council which sent me the pile on the right managed to supply exactly the same amount of information in 800 fewer pages than the other. That's almost two fewer reams of paper, 800 fewer photocopies and perhaps two hours of paid staff time. They achieved this by very simple means; they used a slightly smaller font and printed back-to-back.
Now I admit in the great ocean of local government spending the above represents just a drop, though it is indicative of how thoughtful council staff can make a difference (or not as the case may be).
Readers won't be surprised to read that the Council on the right charges over £50 a year less Council Tax on a Band D property!