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Well now, I am still waiting to hear back from BCC regarding my complaint about the Christmas bins and recycling collection dates debacle (3 months ago).  You can therefore imagine my delight when they distributed their handy leaflet telling us what we can recycle and when to put it out.  For the second year running they’ve given us a handy calendar.


So, my fine neighbour @tickvg took a careful look and said,

“Hey mate, check out your blog posts, wasn’t it boxes last week?”

“Why yes, I replied, see here…” 

as I showed her my last bin blog post. (March 25)

But look closely (in fact, take a look at enlarged image below) and everyone can see, the leaflet tells us that March 26 was a green bags day.


So what’s the problem?  I think it’s as basic as the bin vans don’t do the same thing as the office staff think.  A bit like the Radio Times says it’s Top Gear but the continuity team show Masterchef instead.  What do we watch? Masterchef.

So again, I’m stuck what do I put out tomorrow? Green bags, ‘cos that is almost certainly what the “bin-men” will collect or my boxes, ‘cos that is what the leaflet says.

I wish I could tell you I was going to trust the careful information lovingly posted through my door today.  I cannot.  I will not trust them ever again.

After all, they’re only as good as their last collection…


Today I received an email from . I’m guessing it relates to my parking problem…

Thank you for your e-mail.

Please ensure that you have included your Penalty Charge Notice number, name and correspondence address in your e-mail.

Please note that all correspondence is answered in the order that it is received.



The information contained within this e-mail (and any attachment) sent by Birmingham City Council is confidential and may be legally privileged. It is intended only for the named recipient or entity to whom it is addressed. If you are not the intended recipient please accept our apologies and notify the sender immediately, or telephone +(44)(0)121 464 4444. Unauthorised access, use, disclosure, storage or copying is not permitted and may be unlawful. Any e-mail including its content may be monitored and used by Birmingham City Council for reasons of security and for monitoring internal compliance with the office policy on staff use. E-mail blocking software may also be used. Any views or opinions presented are solely those of the originator and do not necessarily represent those of Birmingham City Council. We cannot guarantee that this message or any attachment is virus free or has not been intercepted and amended.


Dear BCC,

I can’t believe that every time I park at the car park next to the Rep something goes wrong. So, today I was so very careful. I gathered every coin in the house, so I’d have the right change. I tripled checked the price, so I didn’t pay the weekend rate. I bought 4 hours parking, when 3 would have sufficed. All set, I went off content to my meeting.

You cannot begin to imagine my feeling when I approached my car and realised it was adorned with one of your PCNs.

I had paid and displayed and returned while the ticket was still valid. Your operative stuck the PCN next to my ticket in an attempt, conversely, to convince me that I had not clearly displayed a valid pay and display ticket.

So, the PCN number is BM15211041. The ticket is No. 16614592 (as reference on the PCN).

The PCN is dated 04/03/09 timed 12:38. The ticket is dated 04 MAR 09, timed 14:28.

I cannot identify a single problem with this. I suggest you offer me an apology and send Civil Enforcement Officer BM452 for an eye test.

Yours faithfully,

etc etc

WHAT DO YOU think?  Please leave me a comment…

The City Council are attempting to get feedback from the people of Birmingham on their Big City Plan.

That in itself seems quite ambitious to me.  However, the plan is really quite hard to penetrate and the feedback mechanisms do not encourage a deepening of understanding or indeed a conversation.

Well it seems some of my very impressive social web friends in Birmingham decided they could do something about this.  They created a place to talk about the Big City Plan .  And not only does this (online) place allow you to add comments to every section of the plan – which is great, it also allows you to see other people’s comments and therefore develop rather than repeat the conversation – which is also great.  But most impressive of all, these fine people have completely re-written the plan in plain English and posted it alongside the original. 

So, I hear some of you say, where do these people get the brass neck to walk all over the council’s work.  To which I say, what a fantastic privilege for Birmingham to have such active and passionate citizens that they would put so many of their own hours into such a project.

A group of volunteers from the Birmingham Bloggers’ Group has built this site and put this document into plain English, because we wanted a place to discuss the issues and options and help each other (and everyone) understand the Big City Plan.

The site was built by Jon Bounds, and he along with Nick Booth, Nicky Getgood, Julia Gilbert and Michael Grimes have written the plain English text. The help and support of a large number of the Birmingham online community was very much needed and appreciated, especially Stef Lewandowski who has blogged extensively about the Big City Plan.

I want to say an enormous THANK YOU to you all, you have my utmost admiration.  I just hope the council refrain from becoming territorial and incoporate the feedback on this site to their process…


This is a truly inspirational website.


Well, there we are, suspense over.  BCC failed to collect my recycling – although they did do two fabulous things:

1. Took my 2 Xmas trees and

2. The Web Team took my previous post as a complaint and gave me a reference number as a comment – WIN.

I will of course post here the outcome of my complaints.

I have no idea what the Birmingham City Council refuse collection team have in mind to take tomorrow, so I’ve put it all out.  We’ll see in the morning…

I cannot begin to describe my fury and outrage I am shimmering incandescence with rage.

I take my personal responsibilities towards the environment very seriously.  I recycle lots and I depend on the often fine services of Birmingham City Council to collect and arrange for the said recycling of various types of household waste.

Our paper/bottles/metal/plastic is collected fortnightly and our due date fell on Christmas Day.  So I was a bit miffed to discover that there would be no paper etc collection on for 4 weeks due to christmas.   However, in fairness the council made it very clear in a number of places on their website:   and:

Usual collection date Refuse collection will be Recycling collection will be
Wednesday 24th December As normal As normal
Thursday 25th December Thursday 1st January Thursday 8th January
Friday 26th December Friday 2nd January Friday 9th January
Monday 29th December As normal As normal
Tuesday 30th December As normal As normal
Wednesday 31st December As normal As normal
Thursday 1st January As normal As normal
Friday 2nd January As normal As normal

In particular they said:  “Recycling boxes and sacks of green waste due to be collected on 25 December will be collected on 8 January 2009”.

However, I took it in my stride, created a tidy-ish pile in my own back garden

and put out my normal black bags

My neighbour had less faith in BCC’s information flow and decided to test it out.  She put out a box of paper and a box of bottles etc. alongside her normal black bags.  I was smug, I fully expected to wake up to her boxes awaiting.  Oh ye of little faith said I…

So wakey, wakey rise and shine, it’s a brand new year “Happy New Year”.   But what is this I hear?  2009 has been with us, what, 6 hours and BCC have managed to foul up.  Yes, you guessed it, they took the recycling every last empty bottle of bubbly, gift wrap and can of christmas beans removed from my neighbours pile. 

So what does that mean – am I to wait another fortnight before I can do my recycling duty or will they randomly take it next week.  What is the point of them giving information out on their website if they don’t agree it first with the people actually doing the work.

Not sure I want to trust the BCC website for anything in the future.  I hereby dub them the quickest FAIL of the new year.


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