Fife Council website review after personal data needed to report potholes

New council website tools requiring Fifers to hand over personal data before reporting a pothole are being reviewed following criticism.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 8:38 am

Cllr Dave Dempsey says the integration of the myaccount system into Fife Council's website, while well-intended, has made simple tasks such as reporting potholes "complicated" and even "impossible".

The Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay councillor claims to have tried to report a pothole last week, but his efforts were in vain as the website, in his words, "fell over".

He has called for council IT bosses to review the use of the new system.

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Cllr Dempsey said: "It’s not my pothole. It’s location isn’t my personal data. I shouldn’t even have to identify myself. I’m trying to help the council, not the other way round.

“Fife Council talks of going ever more digital and that’s the right way to go.

“But, what used to be quick and easy is now complicated/impossible. We need to go back to where we were and we need to do that now."

The new way of reporting potholes is similar to the old method: Fifers can use an interactive map to pinpoint exactly where the pothole is and upload a photo of it so road engineers can assess how urgently it needs fixing.

However, while the old system asked for an email address for optional updates on the repair, Fife Council now requires locals to login with their mygov.scot myaccount before they can even report the fault.

Diarmuid Cotter, head of customer and online services, said: “By signing in it means that, where appropriate, we can keep customers updated with what's happening about any queries they get in touch with us about.

"We will be reviewing the necessity to sign in for all services in the coming weeks as part of our overall evaluation of the services on the website."

Cllr Cllr Altany Craik aired similar concerns at a council committee last week.

He said the mandatory registration to, in his case, report a missing bin collection would be a "barrier" to effective service and questioned whether it was an "appropriate" way of dealing with citizens' requests.

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