Action News Vol 3 no 3 Winter 1995
Feedback from Users of the LEADLINE Project
In order to obtain feedback from users of the LEADLINE PROJECT, 11 enquirers in the month of June 1995 were contacted and 6 enquirers in the month of July 1995.
The representative sample of enquirers included parents (almost all mothers), home renovators, a childcare director, a trades person, a lead assessment professional, an insurance assessor, a public servant with the NSW state Government, a scientific researcher and a journalist, who is also a parent and a renovator.
Information recipients were asked a range of questions aimed at establishing:
In answer to the first question, information recipients indicated unanimously that the information provided had been very useful. As the information had to cater for such a wide range of needs, this was encouraging to hear. Comments included that the information was "all very helpful" (parent), "just what I need" (home renovator), "most useful, especially the more technical information perfect to take back to committees a lot of new information" (childcare director, "a great deal of use" (insurance assessor), "entirely satisfactory" (public servant), "just what I wanted" (scientific researcher), and "excellent - especially appreciated that Elizabeth was always available, even at odd hours, to answer questions that arose - she was unfailingly helpful. It was great to have someone who could be quoted as saying something - that's often not possible with bureaucrats, they always have to cover themselves. Elizabeth seems to know everything about lead - others often only knew of one aspect." (Journalist).
The second question regarding referrals elicited only one response, because only one referral had been made to this particular sample of 17. The information already available to LEADLINE had been sufficient to meet the other sample enquirers' needs.
The lead assessment professional whose firm specialises in hazardous substances identification, was referred to the NSW Environment Protection Authority seeking information regarding standards for lead remediation.
He expressed considerable frustration about their response - "we need something stronger than guidelines - government won't legislate because it will cost them too much to comply - unless Australia will follow the USA example and legislate we're just chasing our tails - we still have only guidelines for asbestos after 15 years".
The third question about action taken as a result of the information supplied showed a very encouraging response. A parent of 2 children, aged 13 and 15, who have learning and behavioural difficulties and whose home was renovated when they were young, took the information to their Learning Ability Centre. Another parent took information to her Childcare Centre.
A third parent has "made a lot of changes" around lead-aware housekeeping and child supervision. The child- care director has "ordered a new HEPA filter to fit our industrial vacuum cleaner and changed sweeping practices in the Centre - we now vacuum lino instead of sweeping it". She has also arranged a meeting with the property management division of the church which owns the premises to speak with them about lead issues.
The insurance assessor "is going to use the information in a speech he is preparing". The public servant "will be acting soon" he "is now much better informed about what he needs to do". The scientific researcher "used some of the information in the paper he prepared".
The journalist wrote a 3-part article for the publications Sydney's Child, Melbourne's Child and Brisbane's Child. The first part of this series was published on 1 August and the response from it has been considerable - 40 callers from Sydney, 11 from Melbourne and 20 from Brisbane in the first two-thirds of August. The journalist however hadn't really changed her own behaviour - "we took off our shoes at the door for a week but it caused so much trouble that we stopped". Elizabeth used this particular feedback in the writing of the draft fact sheet Lead Aware Housekeeping and Childcare.
Responses to the fourth question, on awareness of other possible sources of lead contamination, included: "the information certainly made me much more aware of the ways in which I and my family have been exposed to lead" (parent), "it made me more alert - for example I noticed a cupboard where old paint was flaking" (childcare director). However most of the respondents in this particular sample were very lead-aware already, either professionally or through reading whatever information had lead them to contact LEADLINE in the first place.
The last question, on suggestions for improvement, received unanimous responses of gratitude, appreciation and thanks for an excellent service that could not have met the enquirers' needs better than it did "thankyou very much!" (parent).
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Updated 17 November 2012