Tuesday 24 April 2018

Barnet Council website not working properly for voting information - Another #CapitaFail

I have been contacted by an elderly Barnet resident who is confused about the process for postal voting. She rang me and said that she was most confused as she's been sent two return envelopes, one labelled "A" and one labelled "B".  I asked if she there was a leaflet, but she said it was hard to read and understand. Of course I will be going around later to sort the problem out, but it seems to me to be a poor system, especially when many postal voters are elderly with poor eyesight etc.

I thought I'd see if there was any guidance on the council website. I went to the "Useful forms" page on the website. Many pages are not working properly and the menus take voters to the wrong pages or even ones that don't exist. The Barnet Council website is a vital resource for voters needing help and it is unacceptable that it is not working. It is just the latest example of the One Barnet Capita outsourcing contract failing to deliver.

It is scandalous that Capita and Barnet Council cannot get their website working for voters in the fortnight before an election. It appears that they've made changes and not even bothered to test them. When I tried to access the "Postal votes" page from the useful forms page I was sent to the results page for the 2017 General election.

When I tried the "Proxy Votes" page, I got "Page Not Found", it is simply unacceptable and exemplifies the slapdash approach to the public.
Yesterday the Tories  Deputy Leader Dan Thomas told the Barnet Times that Capita's share price had gone up 13% when queried about the companies problems. He should stop being a cheerleader for a private company and start getting them to do their job. It is well known in IT companies that the quickest way to save money is to cut testing and QA. It is clear that Capita's troubles are impacting Barnet.

**** Update - It appears that the press interest in this story has resulted in the issue being fixed in record time. It is funny how an election focuses minds at Barnet Council. The Barnet Borough Times reported "Barnet Council denied there was an issue with a link.  A council spokesman said: “The website pages displaying information on applying for postal and proxy vote are working and there have been no problem with these.  The issue identified was as a result of an old link directing to the elections pages and this has been refreshed."

This seems like a rather contradictory statement to us!

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