Havering and Evidence Based Decision-making

After reading many committee reports, what is shockingly obvious is the lack of evidence based decision-making. Many decisions are entirely political or worse, fly in the face of evidence.

The recent decision about car-parking is entirely flawed. Prior to this decision, car-parking charges were sensitive to the needs of shop-keepers. 30 minutes of free parking promoted a steady flow of casual car based customers which is characteristic of Havering’s elderly shoppers. That policy was abandoned. The new decision wasn’t based on evidence from an impact study of shoppers or shop-keepers. Given the challenging retail environment, this is irresponsible at best.

Not a single decision has been reversed due to subsequent evidence. Car-parking charges demand further analysis as their effect could be cataclysmic. Maybe the anticipated increase in revenues won’t happen. What will the cabinet do then? Increase charges again or reverse the decision? The latter is profoundly unlikely whereas the former is probable.

Likewise additional investment in the police is problematic. The justifications are vacuous remarks about making Havering ‘safe’. Is approximately 1100 days of policing per year for £300,000 value for money? Five police officers spread round 18 wards?

Committee members have an opportunity to ask for Topic1 working parties to review important issues. These opportunities are rarely used. Both of the above examples have long-term implications for Havering and should be constantly reviewed.

1 Interestingly members of public can raise Topics for possible committee discussion. There is a direct link in the committee papers inviting citizens to outline why a specific item should be discussed.

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