Not so smart

I’m a little puzzled about what the significance of Swindon Borough Council’s StreetSmart initiative really is. The puff for it in the Adver gives the impression of a great coming together of services: parts of two departments merged into one.

Until now, the services grouped under the StreetSmart banner operated separately in two council directorates – transport and environment and leisure.

As far as I can tell, they still do. What’s changed, according to the StreetSmart page on the council’s website, are the arrangements for contacting some of them.

StreetSmart brings together, under the StreetSmart team at the Swindon Direct Contact Centre, all the services which keep the Borough’s streets and open spaces looking tidy and well tended. It also provides just one point of contact for those services

So that’s a bit more co-ordination of the teams, a lot of rebranding — addresses and titles of pages on the website renamed to include the new brand and a main page with a pretty little logo at the bottom and a not-so-pretty logo at the top — but still two separate departments. And if it’s taken this initiative to provide a single contact number for these services, just what has Swindon Direct been doing since its creation earlier this year?

Swindon Direct was meant to provide a single point for council services. It was already the one number you could call about all the services now covered by StreetSmart. And the ‘new’ number for StreetSmart has been in use since Swindon Direct was created, but as the direct dial number just for waste & recycling. If your problem is with car park maintenance, do you now call the StreetSmart number or the Car Parking number of Swindon Direct?

It seems the council has already recreated the problem that Swindon Direct was meant to solve.