This morning I was on duty at Northfield Community Centre in Northcroft Road. The Northfield councillors do their surgeries there on the second Saturday of the month from 10.30am-12 midday.
This was my third time, we take it in turns. The first time I had two people, second time none, this time three. I do not want to discuss the specifics of their cases obviously but there were some common threads that are worth commenting on. The three cases were:
- a chap who had been handled badly by the Ealing Council pensions service (ie one of our own pensioners)
- a bloke who has had some shoddy work done on his council flat and is having trouble getting it sorted out
- a couple who had problems with their rubbish collection.
The common thread here seems to be the lack of a customer service ethic amongst council staff. The story was unreturned phone calls, letters not responded to and slapdash work. The lack of service ethic applies to those at the top just as much those on the front line.
What is sad about these cases, and hundreds more like them I expect, is that an awful lot of calls and letters and anger could have been averted by a quick response, a straightforward apology and some attention to detail in the first place. I have three letters to write on Monday.