Council asked to review services to ensure Northamptonshire residents without internet are not discriminated against

'There are a number of instances where little or no thought has been given to those without internet access'

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 5:38 pm
Daventry residents had no other apparent way of renewing their garden waste subscription other than online recently

A motion is set to be presented to West Northamptonshire Council today (Thursday) asking the authority to ensure it does not discriminate against those residents without access to the internet.

Councillor Jonathan Harris' motion will be considered at the authority's full council meeting.

It asks the council to review all of its services to ensure that those without access to the internet are not being discriminated against.

The motion asks the council ensures that there are always alternate means of access to its services and to retrain its workforce on equality matters.

It highlights a recent situation regarding the garden waste renewal service in the Daventry area.

The motion states the renewal service provided residents with a slip detailing the website to access in order to renew the service and no other apparent method of renewing.

It states: 'In June 2021 West Northamptonshire Council ran a training event on the subject of equality.

'The aim of this training was to explain to councillors that the new council must offer equality of access to all our residents.

'In a report in 2019, The Office of National Statistics, highlighted the fact that more than five million people have never used the internet in the UK.

'Often, our residents are directed to ‘online form filling’ or asked to deal with issues that they may have using the council’s website.

'Based on the data shown above (ONS report), there is a high probability that we are alienating too many residents in our local wards.

'There are a number of instances where little or no thought has been given to those without internet access.

'A recent example is the green bin/garden waste renewal service in the Daventry area.

'This provided residents with a slip detailing the website to go to in order to renew their services, and no other apparent method of renewing.

'We are discriminating against many residents simply by ignoring the fact that they do not either have access to or use the internet.

'To rectify this, this council resolves to:

review all of its service access points to ensure that individuals without internet access are not being discriminated against.

ensure that there are always alternate means of access, in addition to online access, to services and/or renewal information, and these are readily available and communicated to our residents.

retrain all of its workforce on equality matters, to ensure that all groups are always considered regarding communications and access to services.'

The council meeting is due to be held at One Angel Square, Angel Street, Northampton starting at 6pm.