Having lost their website for a few days last year, Swindon Borough Council is now having problems with the part of their site that gives access to planning applications. This is supplied by a different company from the main site and consistently does not work outside of normal office hours. Most weekends for the last few months it has suffered from frequent out-of-memory errors if you try to access the document linked to an application or, as it has since at least Friday, just refuses to give access at all. According to the software suppliers, their software
is designed to provide Planning & Building Control departments with an efficient means of realising e-government targets quickly, whilst taking the stress and risk out of administering applications, both online and offline. It is a ‘hands off’ approach, so that case officers can get on with value-added work – not ‘pushing’ paper.
Perhaps it’s time the council took a rather more hands-on approach and pushed their suppliers to provide a service that delivers what it is meant to and what we, through the council tax, are no doubt paying for.