A number of SFRA members have been filling in the on-line form for the Dorset Local Plan Consultation (see this post). We believe we have found very serious problems with the on-line form and particularly with data retention. This has generated significant doubts that the on-line form works properly. The problem seems so severe that in essence it renders the on-line form unusable.
It appears that when one section is filled in, it erases data in other sections. The result is that information previously added to the form disappears. Clearly this is a very serious problem.
While a partially filled in form can be saved across sessions it seems to only save the new additions and appears to erase entries from other sections of the form that were filled in earlier.
The net result is that information presented to the form can be lost. The problem has been seen on Windows 10 and Linux/Ubuntu 18.04 using both Firefox and Chrome browsers. It has not yet been tested using Edge or Safari or macOS.
Videos of data loss occurring.
These two videos below show the issue.
(Please note that video 1 references an earlier video also known as “video 1” that we made to investigate this issue which was superseded by these two.)
Video 2 gives a more concise description of the problem.
We will attempt to make Dorset Council aware of this issue. It has (to say the least) very serious ramifications for the roll-out of this consultation.
Always keep a backup
We highly recommend to residents that they should never just fill in the on-line form as-is. They should compose their statements in the word processor of their choice and then cut and paste their locally saved text into the form. That way if data in the form gets lost/mislaid it can be recovered.
We will update this when we have more information.
Note: The videos are in a temporary location and their URLs may change in the next few days. They are likely to be rate-limited so please be frugal in their use.