Thames Water community liaison belly flops

Thames Water extended it’s lamentable record of community engagement last week by failing to invite local residents or businesses to a ‘community liaison working group’ meeting on 2 July.

By their own admission, notice of the meeting was delivered only to properties within 100 metres of the Crossfields Amenity Site. But even this appears to have been done poorly since a poll of supporters of this group found that not one person recalled seeing this notice.

Local Councillors were invited at relatively short notice and consequently had to give their apologies. When they made enquiries on our behalf they were assured that Don’t Dump on Deptford’s Heart had been invited when we had not been (in fact, we never were).

And, when I asked for Thames Water to reconsider the timing of the meeting, Thames Water’s Head of Engagement, Phil Stride, gave a commitment to do so if the response to the emailed invitation looked likely to be low.

This promise was clearly not honoured since only four members of the public were able to make it. Had it not been for our efforts it is likely to have been less. As a consequence, the agenda for the meeting was officially abandoned. And, to add insult to injury, even though there was twice as many Thames Water staff as local residents, not one of them saw fit to record the updates that they gave to the attendees so that this information could be circulated.

One stalwart of our campaign did, however, make a note of the meeting and we hope to post this shortly on the blog site together with the rather entertaining official note of the meeting.

In the meantime we are pressing for the terms of reference to be circulated now so that a) we can see what the point of it is; b) we can all make a judgement about whether it’s going to be worthwhile; and c) we might be able to influence them if we get them in advance.

Watch this space for details!

Nick Williams

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