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Bonkers Blog November 2017

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1 November (Part 3) - None so deaf as those who will not hear

Last week’s Transport Users’ Committee meeting gave me no cause to be critical but apparently my view is not universally held. One of the seven, I think it was, members of the public present read yesterday’s report and sent me a rather different opinion, an opinion which will definitely find favour with my friends Mick and Elwyn. Both are far more hard of hearing than I am and they have complained about the Council Chamber’s poor acoustics and awful sound system many times, sometimes to the Equalities Commission.

My hearing is not too bad for an old ’un but I quite often give up on following a discussion because I cannot hear it clearly enough to be sure any following report will accurate. Some Councillors simply don’t know how to use a microphone and very often the public is made to sit well away from the aim of the directional speakers. Nobody at Bexley Council cares.

The BiB reader’s email is headed ‘Council crap audio arrangements’ which seems a fair enough description to me and it goes on to say…

I’d not previously attended a Council meeting in the new offices but decided almost on a whim to pop in to the Transport Sub-Committee meeting, I will not be doing so again, not unless they dramatically improve the audio arrangements anyway.

All the Councillors have microphones but most do not use them correctly. One or two could be heard clearly but for the rest (including the Chair) it was impossible to follow what was being said. The same was true of the police’s audio/visual presentation.

Would it be too much to hope Bexley council might invest in some better audio equipment - microphones which hang around Councillors necks or clip to jacket lapels perhaps?

Their microphones look to be the same as those in use in the old Civic Offices’ Council Chamber. They were pretty useless there but they seem to have just been walked down the road. Spoiling the ship for halfpence of tar springs to mind in a brand new Council Chamber.

My correspondent should count himself lucky; the Transport meeting is small and the public has a reasonable view of every speaker and sits directly in front of the loudspeakers. He should try next week’s Council meeting where no member of the public sits in front of the loudspeakers, half the Councillors sit with their backs to the audience and they all have to stand up when speaking taking them a couple of feet away from the mic heads designed for close speaking.

It’s the way Bexley Council likes it, the less their squabbles are heard by the public the better it is for them.


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