In this year's budget Bradford's Labour leadership - supported as they are by the watermelons from Shipley - forced through a decision to introduce a permit for residents wanting to make use of 'household waste recycling sites' (or 'tips' as most folk call them). Officers have been trying to introduce this tidy little scheme for some long while but it's only this year that they've found - in Labour Cllr Andrew Thornton - someone stupid enough to agree to the idea.
We're told - without any evidence other than the opinion of officers - that Bradford is a net importer of waste. People from Leeds, Kirklees, Halifax and Skipton are driving into Bradford to deposit their broken furniture, bags of coat hangers and knackered white goods. Oddly enough, all those other councils believe the same and are introducing similar schemes - presumably the extra rubbish is freighted in from Maastricht or perhaps even deposited by visiting Martians.
So far, so bad. A problem that isn't a problem is identified and a solution - introducing a permit - is proposed and accepted by an idiot politician (Cllr Thornton in this case who was told that it would save loads of money). But it gets worse.
To introduce the scheme the Council has sent every resident a form that they are asked to take to their nearest tip along with their Council Tax bill and their driving licence. Information - address, driving license number and the tip the resident uses - is collected. The instructions say that the operatives at the tip will issue the license and off we go.
Sadly, the Council had forgotten to tell the folk at the tip - who didn't know about the forms and didn't have any permits to issue. So the forms were gathered, placed in a box and, one assumes, the Council will post out the permits. Asked about why all this personal information is needed, the Strategic Director in charge said this:
It is not, all we need is proof of adress (sic) that is the same as the Council tax bill. More often than not people show their driving license (sic) for this purpose but any other appropriate formal document traditionally accepted will do
The intention is for proof to be shown and the permit can be issued. There was no need for a form, no need to collect the data and no need to gather thousands of pieces of paper containing sensitive personal information (address and driving licence number - what could Mr Huhne have done with that, I wonder?).
Truth is that there's no need for the scheme at all - the bureaucracy alone negates much of the saving. And that's before all the aggro from people who lose their licence, leave it on the side in the kitchen or generally do what we all do from time to time. And what about the bloke from Pudsey who takes some stuff from his elderly mum's house to the tip? I guess he'll have to go to Leeds?
So we have here a typical council initiative - not really necessary, disorganised, unclear and unsafe. All in the name of some savings that they'll never be able to prove came about because of the scheme!
Well done Cllr Thornton. You win Numpty of the Month for March!