Today I had a meeting cancelled on me this afternoon so I decided to do a bit of mystery shopping at the the council given that I am about to confirmed as the cabinet member responsible for the customer services function in Perceval House at tonight’s Annual Council meeting.
I walked in and told the meeter and greeter lady that I wanted to get a parking permit. She attempted to check that I had completed a form already and that I had the right id documents. I explained that I was a just checking and she gave me a ticket anyway. I got past her at 15:06 hours. The customer services area seemed pretty serene and well organised. There were screens giving some indication of what was going on. There were 6 people waiting for parking permits (and vouchers) and 10 people waiting for student finance issues. While I waited I chatted to about 20 different people. All bar one was happy with the service they were getting. Some of the students had been waiting for 20 minutes but they were aware that they were pressing against a deadline so were phlegmatic about the wait. Similarly with housing benefit claimants. People waiting on parking had been waiting about 10 minutes. One lady was back for the 4th time to discuss getting a new food re-cycling bin. This seemed ridiculous and was the only bad story I heard.
I was seen at 15:25 after a 19 minute wait. The chap was very pleasant. I obviously didn’t want to take up his time but I learnt that it was a pretty quiet day. He reckoned I should come back next Tuesday after a Bank Holiday weekend just before a month end – it would be a much busier. I might just do that.
On the whole I got the impression that things were working well here. I do accept that it might have been a good day – I will be back, often.