It has been suggested far beyond the offices of West Dunbartonshire Council that local authorities should have major services such as Education and Social Care taken away from them and passed upstairs to the Scottish Government whose civil servants have little to do except draw up plans for projects they notoriously are unable to deliver on.

That Councils should be left to deal with simple tasks such as organising bin collections, recycling, road sweeping and grass cutting in parks, cemeteries and public spaces.

However, a quick glance at the Facebook page where the Council invites citizens to lodge their latest complaints about services indicates very clearly that West Dunbartonshire, headed up by a pin-striped guy on a remuneration package of around £140,000 when you include his gold-plated pension, can’t even do these things properly.

The SNP government did pass down Health and Social Care responsibilities, but West Dunbartonshire has also made an arse of that.  A hospital pass if ever there was one.

The SNP government think there is a case for increasing council tax for those of us who live in large houses, which we have worked and saved for all our lives to see us through to a comfortable retirement.  Who would disagree that pensioners like us have been badly let down?

We still pay £300 a month here for having our bins emptied – sometimes – and for living in a town that’s at the bottom of a league table for the most deprived towns in Scotland.
You really should read that Council complaints column. It’s as well Dumbartonians and Vale folk have a sense of humour.
They must feel like weeping when they look around them and see what they have to put up with from wrecks in the River Leven to a poorly built walkway from the Quay to the Castle, which is still not completed to the town centres and main streets of both Alexandria and Dumbarton. And so much else. I could go on.
First in the queue – and it’s nearly always a long one – is Paul Elliott.
Paul says: “Can I please have a helicopter to get out of Castlehill during the Cardross road closing ? And some sort of relaxing medication to deal with the pending chaos it will bring ?
Richard Beattie says: “They (the council) will say that’s to slow you down where you merge with bridge traffic?”

But it’s not just Dumbarton and Vale residents who are up in arms over the council’s failure to do the grass cutting on open spaces and roadside verges.

Linda Alderdice has e-mailed in from Old Kilpatrick to complain: “Can the grass be cut at top of Station Road going on to the Boulevard [the killer A82  Glasgow-Loch Lomondside road] as you can’t see oncoming cars it’s that long!”

Elaine Milmine contacted the Council to say: “I live in Gavinburn Place, and I’ve woke up to my street being closed off! I have had no notice of this, other than a sign saying the road will be closed for 3 weeks.
“The sign is positioned BEYOND my street which indicates the closure shouldn’t affect me. So why is my street closed and how am I supposed to get my car out to get to work?
“I manage a children and family charity and need to carry a heavy bag around with my laptop and other work items, so my car is essential. Please note the yellow sign is BEYOND the street!”
May be an image of road
Gavinburn Place in Old Kilpatrick where the road has been blocked off and doesn’t allow people out of their houses.
Angela Devine is an exception to the rule where people who complain are often told by the person dealing with them to speak to someone else.
They are given an e mail address to contact a department and that “it will be passed on to the team”. That’s just passing the buck.
Angela wrote: “Can I just say ‘thank you’ to Carolyn at the Customer Service Desk. I called yesterday re council tax and she sorted it out for me. Thank you.”

For a council that so much hates criticism of any kind, the Council naively make their critics job easier by publishing these complaints which are a ready made avenue of tip-offs to stories for journalists who still believe this is what the public wants to read about in local newspapers.

Take this one, for example, from Amy Louise Kennedy : “GET THE BINS SORTED AT ONSLOW ROAD!!! Please don’t reply saying I’ve missed a bin because it’s every one in the street!!!”

The capital letters are Amy’s not mine but they do indicate that people who use them are absolutely fed up and raging.

There is another e mail about the bins.  Emma Allan asks: “Any info on why bins in Drumry haven’t been emptied?”

An anonymous West Dunbartonshire Council spokesperson replies:”The team are currently dealing with staff shortages, the missed bins will be picked up this weekend, apologies for the inconvenience caused.”

But the paying public, struggling with the cost of living crisis, refused to be diverted.

Jeyn Sera asked: “What’s happening with bin collections in Whitecrook? Supposed to be emptied on Monday. Both recycling and waste is full

And Rebecca Poole added: “Bins in Dunedin Terrace have also not been emptied since collection day on Monday and some are overflowing. Forms have been completed and still not emptied, like others have said this needs addressed ASAP, thanks.”
The complaints move on from bins to buses and road repairs and pothole filling.
Karen Docherty says:”Here’s the letter we got on 23 June but it doesn’t tell people any info re buses or diversion routes.”
But Jacqui Thomson says the bins in Onslow road still haven’t been emptied since Monday. I have filled in the form and so have others. Why haven’t the bins been emptied?
Poor Pauline, who is answering the calls for the Council states yet again: “Hi Jacqui Thomson, the team are currently dealing with staff shortages, the missed bins will be picked up this weekend, apologies for the inconvenience caused, Pauline.”
And so it goes on and on and on …
Raymond Reid says: “Hello . Any update on the Cardross Road closure . Where do residents of Oxhill etc stand . Quite a few queries in various platforms about this . Thank you.”
And Judith Clark adds: “I contacted council before but no response. The burn in Silverton Smollett Road end is totally overgrown with weeds and trees which are going to blow on to fences at houses, can someone please attend to this?”
Poor Pauline. This must be doing her head in. The big question is what are chief officials and highly paid elected members doing about these things?
Cat Moran asks: “Can you explain why none of the black bins have been emptied in Dean Court like they were supposed to be on Monday? Reported multiple missed bin collections and they still haven’t been done. Bins are overflowing and the bags are being burst by birds. This needs addressed asap.”
There is just one more complaint we would like to publish before we run out of space here.
Gordon McGechie asks: “Can you please get someone to cut big Bush over grown near Dalmuir train station. [It’s] half way over the pavement and hits my face because I am in a wheelchair.”
By the way, I believe the Council don’t like me writing about the services they provide and the way they provide them.  I’ll continue to wear my ban as a badge of honour though.
Top of page picture: Dystopian Mitchell Way which is supposed to pass for a town centre and Vale folk have been waiting years for the Council to do something about it.

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