Tuesday, 17 March 2009

"The definition of a complaint is as follows: A clear expression of dissatisfaction in connection with either a council provided service or policy"

* * * * *

Following a Freedom of Information request submitted via the awesome What Do They Know website, I am in possession of a copy of the Complaints Recording guidelines reissued to Wandsworth Housing Department staff following the alarming discovery "early in 2007/2008" that "a number of items were being recorded as complaints in error". [Quoted from the Annual Complaints Report, Paper 08-513, available to download here]. 

Here's an extract from the guidelines specifically relating to my experiences with Ms Ann Parris and Mr Tom Crawley. It's part of a breakdown of what constitutes - in Councilspeak  - a "Service Delivery Failure." Kudos for bravely employing the word failure instead of a euphemism, however I can't help noticing that lying and dishonesty are omitted from the list of failures. 

I've underlined/bolded all the bits that apply to Ms Parris and Mr Crawley:
Staff Error - Where the complaint is the result of an error or omission by a member of staff. Examples include:
  • Complaint not dealt with in set time scale (speed of response)
  • Telephone calls/letters not responded to (keeping client informed)
  • Adopting incorrect procedures
  • Failing to pass on information requested
  • Failing to undertake general tasks
  • Failing to keep appointments
  • Any action/non-action creating gaps in service delivery
  • Incorrect assessment of housing register and other similar application forms
Staff Attitude - Where the complaint is the result of the way in which a member of staff has dealt with an issue. Examples include:
  • Rudeness
  • Unhelpful
  • Obstructive
  • Arrogant
  • Making racist or sexist comments
  • Fairness [presumably they mean unfairness]
  • Not listening to problems
  • General staff conduct
It's rather a lot of fails, isn't it? Even excluding lying. In the private sector, this many fails would result, at the very least, in a warning, not a promotion. 

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