‘Great service. Excellent value. Would use again. A+++++++++++’
Perhaps a bit flippant, especially as I think the latest initiative from our heavily listing ship of state is, actually, quite a good one.
The simple fact is that these ratings take place informally in all sorts of places. Across the counter of the local shop, between neighbours or online in various guises: people are not afraid to say what they think is wrong (or right) with local services.
What has never happened is for that conversation to take place on an ‘authorised’ forum – public services have never encouraged people to tell them what’s wrong. Of course, I can immediately see the criticism; this will just be legitimising those with an axe to grind or agenda to push. And you can see how it would be fairly easy for people with minor gripes, if I were in opposition I’d be combing the feedback for ammunition.
I think Wandsworth provide excellent services, but I also know that nothing is perfect and however much we strive we won’t get it right 100% of the time. But given that these conversations are taking place, and people do have complaints, shouldn’t we be encouraging them to air them in an arena where we can do something about them?
I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.
[…] James Cousins blogs on the Working Together paper from a local perspective. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Trust and the Citizen […]
If Wandsworth genuinely strive towards improving services, then an online forum where issues could be openly discussed could only help towards achieving that goal. Not just complaints, but positive suggestions and ideas on how to improve things. It’s likely that many issues don’t get an airing simply because there isn’t an appropriate medium via which to air them – so much communication these days is online, as you are obviously aware.
Whilst I agree that the council’s overall performance is generally good, I have personally had experience of appalling maladministration by two members of the Housing Department. Here’s my blog which contains a detailed and ongoing account of my dealings with them.