Concerns at lack of consultation
18th January 2008
Dear Sir / Madam
We are writing to express our concerns over the consultation process leading to the report "Review of River Moorings Policy" that was presented at the meeting of the Community Services Scrutiny Committee on 17th January 2008.
Phil Back Associates were commissioned to examine stakeholder views on the use of "Area A" (the stretch of river alongside Jesus Green between Jesus Lock and the La Mimosa restaurant). The report generated by this consultation was used as the basis for the recommendations in the "Review of River Moorings Policy".
It was not until the report was announced prior to the meeting on 17th January that several independent punt operators realised that they had not been consulted for their views. A spokesman for a group of the operators raised this point at the meeting of the Community Services Scrutiny Committee, to which the officer responsible for the report (Debbie Kaye) replied that all persons holding a commercial punt license from the Conservators of the River Cam had been contacted.
Further to this response one of the punt operators contacted Debbie Kaye via telephone. He attested that to his knowledge none of the independent license holders had been contacted, and she confirmed that it had been the intention that all be polled for their views.
Of the 17 commercial punt license holders we were able to contact; only one had received a questionnaire for the consultation and this was upon direct request after seeing an article in the local paper and making further enquiries about how to get involved in the process.
It is clear that the views of these stakeholders have not been taken, and that there has been a grievous error in the consultation process. Considering that the consultation drew 19 respondents and that all licensees contacted were extremely interested in having their views heard, we believe that had they been contacted the consultation would have resulted in a significantly different report. As Phil Back Associates note "The numbers involved in this study are small and need to be viewed with caution ... a single response could create a difference of over 5% in the result."
We would like to suggest that the report be re-examined in light of these facts. Should consultation be desired of the commercial punt license holders we are sure it would be forthcoming.
Thank you for considering our views.
Tim Campbell, Jamie Collinson, Ashley Dalton,
Julian Fowler, Simon Godfrey, Nick Maseychik
Names of licensees not contacted for consultation