Getting things done

People often ask me how i get things done through Islington Council.  I use a simple escalation path, taking care to remain polite and reasonable at all times.  Council officials are hard-pressed and no matter how frustrated you are, ranting at them doesn’t work.

1 – first contact through contact islington by email or by phone

2 – chase by phone through contact islington

3 – involve Councillors in writing

4 – go and see your councillor face to face – or write to your MP

1. email (or telephone) contact islington contact@islington.gov.uk this often sorts things out first time.  They are very helpful but not superhuman.  They make mistakes or other people in the system do and sometimes things aren’t fixed.  Give them your name and address.  If you can email a photo that helps enormously

2. If nothing happens within a resonable period (eg rubbish not collected within 24 hours) then telephone contact islington again 0207 527 2000.  DON’T email – this is not an effective way of following up with contact islington for some reason.  don’t put the phone down until they give you a clear name of the person responsible.

3.  If still your issue isn’t resolved then a bit more effort is required – you need to combine the political system (councillors) with the bureacratic one (council officials who work for the council)

Telephone or write to the head of the council department responsible – their names (though not their contact details) are here

It is worth knowing that Kevin O’Leary also covers roads in his environment brief

It is much more effective to write at this stage because then you can copy your councillor in.  You can write to council officials care of

Contact Islington
222 Upper Street
London N1 1XR

or email them at contact@islington.gov.uk asking for the mail to be forwarded

Remember that these senior officials are working hard in a difficult system – keep your letter or email very short and to the point – nine times out of ten they will sort it out.  Remember to mention the name of the official who was supposed to have sorted this out already and mention that you are copying to your councillor.

You can find out who your councillor is if you know your own postcode and write to them for free at http://www.writetothem.com and paste in the text of your letter or email to the council official.  A good councillor will help you follow this up with council officials, if your request is reasonable.

You can telephone but it is not as effective, Contact Islington will put you through to the official’s office if you ring.  The office will often help but you are unlilkey to get through direct to the senior official you want to talk to.  It is also harder to play the councillor card on the phone.

4. If all this fails then take care to reassess whether you are asking for something reasonable and go along and see your councillor at a surgery to talk it through – surgery times and places can be found here  .

Or you could also consider writing to your MP at this stage if you really think that you won’t get anywhere with the council – you can also use
www.writetothem.com to find and write to your MP for free

If you aren’t getting anywhere or have difficulty writing contact me through this website and i shall see if i can help through the north kings cross environmental taskforce.

I can’t stress enough though the importance of staying calm and courteous throughout and the need for immense patience – the more deep-seated a problem the longer it will take to solve.  Also going to the newspapers should only be done in extremis – it destroys any sense of working together if you slag people off to the papers.

I shall post on how to approach the police locally as well. 

These methods usually work for me others will no doubt have views on this. 

About William Perrin

Active in Kings Cross London and South Oxfordshire, founder of Talk About Local, helping people find a voice online and a trustee of The Indigo Trust , Good Things Foundation and ThreeSixtyGiving as well as Connect8.
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