Campaign group launch own consultation over record office future
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A campaign group have launched their own rival consultation on the future of Lowestoft's record office.
Save Our Record Office (SORO) described Suffolk County Council's (SCC) consultation about the future service offering at the Record Office as a 'cosmetic tick-box exercise'.
SORO chairman, Bob Collis, said: 'SCC's online consultation does not give the reader a proper chance to make their views known. The questions are deliberately arranged to get the answers Council wants.
'There are almost as many diversity-related questions aimed at profiling respondents as there are about the Record Office service itself.
'It is more like a tacky cold-calling marketing survey than a serious consultation paper about the future of our local archives.'
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Mr Collis also claimed the lack of an email or postcode requirement on the council's official consultation made it open to 'abuse'.
He added: 'If this was a genuine consultation, Council would have incorporated controls and safeguards so that it could validate responses and prevent abuse.
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'SCC's failure to do so is confirmation that this so-called 'consultation' is a cosmetic tick-box exercise, and that council has no intention of allowing the outcome to influence its decision-making process.'
Paul West, SCC cabinet member with responsibility for heritage, said: 'All feedback received during the consultation process will be taken into account, however I strongly recommend that residents make their thoughts fully known on the SCC consultation, as this is what will inform the report which will be presented to cabinet in December.
'Residents can have their say by visiting www.suffolk.gov.uk/lroconsultation.'
A spokesman for the council added the consultation does ask for postcodes with the intention of understanding where respondents are travelling from to visit the Record Office.
However, she said: 'Under GDPR and the Data Protection Act, respondents are not obliged to provide their details. Respondents can also provide their email address if they would like to be updated when more information is available.'
SORO's consultation is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, by going to the SORO Facebook page, or collecting one in person from the SORO stand on London Road North each Saturday.
The SCC consultation is also available in hard copy from Lowestoft, Kirkley, Kessingland, Oulton Broad, and Beccles Libraries, and the Marina and Kirkley Centres.