Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 12:53 GMT on Saturday, 1st December 2012.
Council leader says ‘Way Ahead’ distribution was carried out by a “reputable firm”

COUNCILLOR Jim McCabe, the Labour leader of North Lanarkshire Council has officially revealed statistics that show 7,400 households did not receive the ‘Way Ahead’ booklet about proposed cuts.


Talking to STV Local, Jim McCabe said 95% of the 148,000 houses targeted did receive the booklet which the council had intended to send to every home as part of its public consultation into proposed cuts of £73.3 million.


Since the consultation ended three weeks ago the local authority has been criticised by a number of SNP politicians, residents and Abronhill High School anti-closure campaigners who have all questioned how many houses received the booklet and, consequently, how worthwhile the consultation was.


Councillor McCabe said the 20-page book was delivered to more houses than it would have been if distributed directly by the council.


He said: “The door-to-door leaflet exercise was carried out by a reputable firm.


“At the request of the council, the contractor audited more households than they normally would and that audit suggests that penetration was around 95%, considerably higher than a direct distribution standard of 90%.


“All specific reports of non-delivery were followed up and re-delivery undertaken.


“The result was the largest response to a consultation of this kind, with more than 3000 people responding and with more than 10,000 individual opinions expressed.


“Of course, even 5% non-delivery means that more than 7000 households will not have received a booklet and some seek to portray this as some kind of failure.”


A spokesman from North Lanarkshire Council could not confirm the firm which had carried out the delivery and subsequent audit, but added that where it emerged whole streets or post codes were without the booklets, arrangements were made to deliver them, although it’s not clear how many properties this was done for, the spokesman confirmed.


North Lanarkshire Council has said it needs to make cuts of £73m from budgets between next year and 2016 and it has identified and detailed potential savings of over £105 million, which could see 1,387 jobs axed.

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