What the 10 strangest questions put to local councils teach us about government communication

It's no secret that citizens ask a lot of their government -- but some questions are trickier to answer than others.

"Do you know where I could get an old bath that I could fill with custard?"

Most people would have no idea what to say to that -- but the London Borough of Sutton had to give it their best shot, and keep a straight face while doing it. It's just one of the 10 strangest questions put to local councils, as compiled by the Local Government Association. The list covers everything from horse burial regulations to tasty marinade recipes. 

Local governments are bombarded with constituent questions every day. Most of them are quite serious -- but even the strange ones can matter a great deal to the person asking. Local government has always faced this problem, but in an era of shrinking resources, they need to find new ways to share essential information with citizens and answer specific questions as efficiently as possible. 

For the boroughs of Havering, Newham, and Waltham Forest, the answer was to build a joint platform to provide citizen services online. For the social landlord AmicusHorizon, the answer was in better tracking of customer information, to make it easier to resolve more customer issues the first time. Whatever form the solution takes, local governments can use digital tools to help their services scale and make citizen questions easier to answer -- even if they involve bathtubs full of custard.

Leave your favourite unusual customer question (or tasty marinade recipe) in the comments!

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