Monday, April 14, 2014

Closing ranks

One of the more noticeable things about the public services is their determination to to never admit to a problem, particularly in the NHS. Almost the first thing that happens is denial, followed by a cover up often enough followed by various professional bodies in that service letting the perpetrator of a mistake, error, or bad practice off with nary a slap on the wrist...
Public services still need to learn lessons from the Stafford Hospital scandal on how to handle complaints, says a committee of MPs.
Concerns about failings at the hospital - expressed by patients and local doctors - were ignored.
The Commons Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) wants changes including having a minister with responsibility for complaints handling.
It says there is a "culture of denial and failure" in public services.
The government said it was "committed to improving" services and the Stafford Hospital scandal had been a "turning point".
Committee chairman Bernard Jenkin said: "There needs to be a revolution in the way public services are run, and how the public perceives government.
"As things are, most people believe there is no point in complaining.
That's always been the perception when dealing with unelected officials wherever you go, even in some private companies where the company ethos seems to revolve around protecting the company no matter what and no matter who gets hurt or trampled upon. So you reach the point where you simply don't bother any more despite poor service because getting mired down in the system or being fobbed off just isn't worth your time save if it's very serious and then you get bogged down often waiting for years for it to be resolved and like as not, not getting an apology despite the failure of the service.
Indeed it does appear as if the rationale of the public services is to defend the public services no matter what.
The only way it will change is if the system allows transparency and we all know that simply will not happen as the culture of denial of blame goes right to the top.
Still, come the revolution, the list for stringing up grows ever longer...

2 annotations:

Mr. Morden said...

We also live in a culture of, 'no win no fee'. Whilst that sword of Damocles hangs over their head, they will fight. Remove the threat and you might both get better cooperation and services.

That does not mean that you would not be entitled to some compensation for a genuine mistake that has actually caused you harm.

Anonymous said...

All organisations suffer from this.
Complainers can be the 'best' customers, they are the ones who take the trouble to tell the organisations what they are doing wrong. Far better than surveys where a)no-one knows what questions to ask, and b) no-one knows what the answers mean.
My personal worst complaint response was to a letter in which I set out how to make and information mail-out better; i.e. put the facts together and surround them with 'white-space', hardly 'rocket science'. The response was that "surveys had shown that 95% of customers were satisfied with company communications".