Friday, May 14, 2010

DPP websites back online ... but still woefully out of date

District Policing Partnerships logo

I’ve blogged on and off about how the local District Policing Partnership websites were out of date, then frozen (and couldn’t be updated), then taken offline (with a holding page that didn’t give any alternative, real world contact details) while the server was moved to a more secure data-centre, and after a long wait, the sites have come back online.

There are areas on the website for each of the DPPs across Northern Ireland which can be updated by the local DPP managers. I’ve sampled a number of the DPPs but couldn’t face looking at them all.

So what’s are the super-dooper new DPP websites like?

Unfortunately, the answer is that they’re still in need of a revamp.

The main things a member of the public might want to know about their local District Policing Partnership would be (1) what have they been talking about recently, (2) when’s the next meeting, (3) how to get in touch with someone to ask something.

The good news is that the contact details are all up to date. The bad news is that little else is up to date.

Fermanagh – The meeting page links to PDF of meetings between January 2009 and March 2010. May’s meeting at which the 12 month report will be presented is not advertised. There are no 2009 minutes published on the appropriate page.

Strabane – No timetable of future meetings. The last set of minutes published online were from February 2009.

Omagh – The next advertised meetings of Omagh DPP are 29 January 2009 and 26 March 2009. No word about May yet. No minutes from 2009 or 2010 are online.

Dungannon & South Tyrone – Tells me to click on the calendar to see the next meeting. There is no calendar to click on! No online minutes since March 2008.

Lisburn – No calendar of upcoming meetings, but the minutes are up to date.

Castlereagh – No list of upcoming meetings and no minutes yet from 2010.

Belfast – Dates of meetings are apparently on the non-existent calendar. Some of the Belfast area sub-groups have minutes from early 2009, others stopped updating in 2008. None have anything from 2010.

So after a nine month absence, the DPP webpages are back … but are still less than useful.

Asked about the website issues and prolonged downtime, the NI Policing Board responded on30 March explaining:

“When the DPP website is available to the pubic those Reports and minutes of meetings that occurred during the time the website was unavailable will be placed on the DPP Website.”

But not yet!

You might wonder whether the NI Policing Board ever discussed their website problems. Nine months is a long time to fix a problem. According to the NIPB, the problems have only once been minuted. At the meeting of their Community Engagement Committee on 26 February (the minutes of that meeting aren’t yet online!) …

“In response to a query from a Member, officials explained that the DPP website had been out of action recently due to an internet security issue but work was being undertaken to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.”

Recently? From the end of the summer to February is now defined as recently!

To reprise what I said back in September:

These days, policing and justice are even more prominent than normal in Northern Ireland’s news and political agenda. Other than local newspapers, the DPP websites seem to be the main way of local people finding out about their opportunities to engage with the DPP and find out what they’re doing. So it’s disappointing to discover that the website is so unsatisfactory and so out of date.

Maybe now that the websites are back up and running someone will get around to updating the information on them?


Timothy Belmont said...

And there's a deafening silence from them. A pity they aren't more "connected" to those whom they are serving!

What would it take to provoke a response?

Anonymous said...

Well if you really want to know what went on i've all the FOI's - i contacted the press who ran a story about this !!

PS i guess you know DPP's are going ?


Anonymous said...

How much do you think Belfast DPP gets from the policing board - say £500,000

And most of that goes on wages !!