It's a dog's life understanding these new councils
Today I wanted to get some information on my new council, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council. Accessing their website brings you to a homepage advertising their services across three separate websites for guess what? Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon councils.
To licence a dog online is done by going to the website for your old council area, registering on your old council website and completing the process.
If you live in Armagh, or Craigavon, then you are in luck, but not a mention of online dog licensing for Banbridge folk. Furthermore, navigating this site is like taking pot luck as to where you will end up.
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council might argue that they are only in existence for three weeks, but they have been in shadow mode for a year.
While the council has managed a shiny new logo and to hold onto 1,195 staff, the second-largest council in Northern Ireland has signally failed to deliver the simplest of joined-up services, such as dog licensing. What hope, therefore, for the more complex functions, such as planning?
Where the new councils are concerned, the whole needs to be more than just the sum of the parts.
They need to stop acting like job-creation schemes, start scrapping duplication and deliver cost-effective, accessible services.
Heaven knows, they have been talking about it for long enough.