Monday, 20 May 2019
Friday, 22 June 2018

Council deletes main telephone number

Don't talk to us, use Twitter instead say Tory Wycombe District Council

Report: Paul Janik. Photographs: Wycombe District Council
Wycombe District Council removes its telephone
number from its web site.

Keen to ignore the communication needs of the most vulnerable of its many customers, Conservative Party controlled Wycombe District Council removed its main public telephone number from its web site wycombe.gov.uk

Instead of an old fashioned, but still working perfectly well, telephone number, Wycombe Council wants everyone to use:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram

Many vulnerable or elderly or poor citizens do not have have Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts.

Conservative comment

The Slough Times asked the Leader of Wycombe's Tory councillors for an explanation. Despite being the ultimate boss of the council, higher than the chief executive, and the chief of 49 Tory councillors, Cllr Katrina Wood (Tylers Green and Loudwater ward) seemed shy and sadly did not know what to say - not even an "Oh dear" or "That is wrong". Instead Mrs Wood wanted council staff to give a comment on her behalf.

Not impressive.

Labour Party comment

We rang the Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Rafiq Raja (Bowerdean ward). He said:-

We need telephone numbers for the council so that people with no access to computers or are uncomfortable with navigating the Internet can speak to their council.

It is disappointing that, what appears to be, a short-sighted money-saving idea, is unfairly discriminating against the people we were elected to serve.

I don't think other councillors were informed about this unexpected change. On behalf of the Labour Group I shall be asking the chief executive to reconsider the omission of our council's public telephone number from the council's web site.

Independent comment

Wycombe has one genuinely Independent councillor Brian Pearce (Booker and Cressex). Mr Pearce exhibits the best qualities of good councillors. He has an opinion and was prepared to speak freely:-

In this day and age it is assumed everybody is online but everybody is not. The person needing help may not be online.

The council should be transparent. Telephone numbers should not be hidden from the public this council is supposed to be serving. The council's main number should be clearly visible.

Lib Dem comment

Wycombe has only one Lib Dem councillor, Ray Farmer (Ryemead). Unlike Labour and the Conservatives, Mr Farmer has an opinion:-

I think the council's telephone number should be put back on the web site straight away.

We must think about our elderly population who don't use social media.

It should be reinstated right away. It should never have been taken-off in the first place.

Wycombe's 60 councillors can be seen at councillors.wycombe.gov.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx

Wycombe District Council's main telephone number is 01494-461 000.

South Bucks District Council has a list of telephone numbers and email addresses on its web site that Wycombe, and Slough Unitary Authority too, could beneficially copy.