Dread Moment, Dead Time – the Roots of Laughter and the Prompt to Action
I was in the queue at the Post Office – two positions open for business; 12 people in the queue; having to pay £5 for special delivery because of strike. The message on the QTV? ‘The only real laughter comes from despair’ attributed to Groucho Marx. Nothing could have better fitted the mood of existential gloom at the prospect of 20 minutes queuing while South London people sort out their complicated lives clutching half-filled-in forms and expired passports. None were laughing. It was the most apposite message I have ever seen on that medium but the best was yet to come two seconds later with the name and location of a photocopying shop new to me and just up the road. The ad worked – 20 minutes later I was in there and their sales figures leapt up by 0.72p.
Of course had I been connected to the internet. the time in the queue would pass in a flash because I could read the Partners’ blog entries in October and November. Caroline Millar sends politicians to stand in the corner for wilfully getting the important Cambridge Review wrong.
It seems to be open season on schools and the question of how they should be run and who should run them. Caroline documents the candidates in some detail in the following terms:
“whether it be local authorities, faith groups, used car salesmen or aspirational lasagna-eating anxiety-monkeys who are running the schools of the future, it should be a requirement for all of them to demonstrate that they know what their pupils, parents and local communities think of them and to show that they are responsive to their needs.”
Read the full post to see where they all come from.
Val Moore updates us with tales of a Norwegian state pension fund seeking to persuade large American concerns of the advisability of separating the post of chief executive from that of chairman – a central tenet as it happens of Policy Governance®. Val had recently attended one of a series of workshops being run by Caroline Oliver and the UK Policy Governance Association and this separation of function and titles still seems to be causing problems for many organisations.
“Many of these organisations are struggling to see the unique role of the Chairman and Board and want to avoid that well known situation where the Board usurp the role of the Executives and the Executives second guess the Board. Policy Governance separates the two roles and maintains that the Chairman and the Board are ‘owners one step down’ and not ‘management one step up’. This thinking frees the Board to concentrate on the ‘ends’ or goals of the organisation and to allow the CEO and executive team to work out the ‘means’.”
Politicians’ promises and social care
Ends and means were very much part of Andrew Craig’s piece musing on how strange it was
“that with little over a month to go for people to have their say about the government’s social care proposals for England, the Prime Minister pulled a monster rabbit out of his capacious hat which made roadkill of the consultation process. Mr Brown pre-empted discussion by giving a personal care pledge to adults under 65 – later clarified as also extending to younger disabled people aged 18-64 needing personal care at home. That’s a lot of people and a awful lot of bawbees, Gordon, even if the Government is still around after 2010.”
If the consultation is to have any useful effect, it should provide some insights into what Andrew identified as the three main issues around social care:-
- First and foremost, we need one, integrated system of health and social care not two
- Second, the social care debate must be widened to include younger adults with disabilities and chronic conditions and people who care for them
- Third, while raising the universal standard of social care we must reclaim the Beveridge principle of individual initiative to make extra provision.
Complaints – Opening Up on Complainant Satisfaction
Back to where we started with a moment of existential despair in a Post Office queue – the mood seems right when comtemplating the Kafka-esque world of a complaint about service at our bank. We take a look at the experience of having a problem with banks, specs and teeth – and no the NHS does not feature in any of them. The world of the banking back office and that modern contradiction in terms ‘the customer service team’ – neither a team or much to do with service – and how best intentions and efforts can still go wrong even when all are trying harder than Avis.
But we finish on a good note – if you have a complaint about your private dentist’s service, find your way to the Dental Complaints Service and your complaint stands a good chance of getting sorted according to some new data. Well done Derek.