The new on line Highways Fault Reporting System operated by the Conservative controlled Hertfordshire County Council, which went live on 6.2.2012, came under sustained attack from several Liberal Democrat county councillors at the full county council meeting on 27.3.2012.
Local Chells county councillor, Liberal Democrat Robin Parker, who is also a borough councillor, asked Highways and Transport portfolio holder, Conservative Stuart Pile, why did the system go live when it is still riddled with problems?
The answer, obtained at the meeting, revealed that the system had not been tested before being released to the general public and that, until it is sorted out, the old system will be brought back into use. Stuart Pile offered his apologies.
Robin Parker said later: “The system has apparently been designed by idiots. It simply does not work. I have tried a week ago to report an important belisha beacon not working at a zebra crossing on Mobbsbury Way, near schools, and the system would not let me do so. I had to report it to a top manager by e mail, and they have still failed to repair the belisha beacon more than 11 days later. Residents’ safety may be at risk.”
Faults identified by Robin Parker are:
1. The mapping system often but unpredictably does not load properly. Robin left it on all night recently and it still went round and round sand would not load.
2. You can’t log on. You have to try and log a fault, then it tells you that you can’t until you log on.
3. When it later tells you that a fault is rectified and you know that it still isn’t, you cannot report this fact.
4. Then you can’t get back to your list of cases without logging out and in again.
5. When you click on a precise fault site, it still gives you a choice of 6 or 8 nearby.
6. The system is very slow.
7. Having made one fault report, there is no way to make another report immediately after it. You have to go round again via the steps in (2) above, which is not efficient.
8. The 12 digits in the new style reference number is not easy to see, read or remember. It needs to be split into groups of 3 or 4 digits.
9. If at any time the back button is pressed, it states that the web page has expired.
10. Some assets are listed in the wrong streets.
Robin Parker continued: “One wonders how much council taxpayers’ money the Tories have wasted on this shambles of a system. I have never seen a portfolio holder so readily admitting errors and failures. I raised all these problems weeks ago, within a few days of the system going live, and nothing has changed in the 7 weeks since then.”
“The old system was not perfect, but this is appalling.”