Is it me or is Southwark Council the worst local public service provider in the country? Speaking to anyone that works for it is a nightmare and the staff are often rude, aggressive and haven't the faintest idea about customer service. I got a letter from the idiots at the Council today which was supposed to explain a local planning issue. Except it didn;t because it was incomprehensible!! Trying to deal with it on any sort of issue is intimidating and unpleasant. Sack all the council staff and start again is what I say. Not fit for purpose...not even close.
It is not only the Council, City Hall is similarly guilty. I tried applying for funding for a local project. Despite being educated to postgrad level, I found some of the documents incomprehensible. When I telephoned to seek clarification, I was treated with nothing but arrogance. The application purported to encourage all sectors of society to be involved in the initiative and it duly had the mandatory 'Equalities' monitoring form. Despite this, anyone without English as a first language or anyone with dyslexia or any other kind of literacy issue was effectively excluded by the very nature of the application process. I tried to highlight this but the response was one of dismissal and disdain.
I totally agree, the council staff are not fit for purpose, I'm currently dealing with 4 different issues with Southwark Council :
1. A window repair - after an attempted burglary in Apr 2013, still chasing for repair, have taken 4 days off for contractors to visit, spent over 5 hours approx on the phone in total to various customer service reps and had so many different response, unable to open toilet window since Apr and no one at the council offices know when it will be sorted.
2. Service charge - have been paying as standing order since moving into flat 6 years ago, had a letter about July this year saying I've not paid and I owe money and could face court, since then its been a nightmare dealing with a girl from the housing ownership office, I keep sending my statements to show proof but I ever hear back, I've refused to pay a penny until all the pavements I've make over the years has been allocated, as some years I've overplayed by 000s .
3. Garages dept, emailed the head of garages (m d'cuz) November 2012, requesting some changes, hear back in April 2013, passes me onto a colleague who has tried to help me, since they will not repair a broken garage door and damp walls, was told ill be moved, since then have heard a new story every week how ill be moved ASAP and they waiting on the cleaners, I've been paying for a garage for months which I can't use but continue to pay for.
4. Council tax - have paid Monthly since moving in 2006- over the years I was in credit by 14000 pounds, was told I wouldn't have to any in 2012-13, 2 weeks ago I get a court summons for non pay, called and dealt with a guy who was just reading off a script, repeating the same sentence over and over, I just paid paid the fine to make life easy for us both.
The councils provides a very poor service, as much as I don't like/want to I'm starting to use online services and emails, as it feels like a more pleasent and proactive way, maybe that's what the heads at the council want... So sooner or later there will be no people at the council to deal with, just computerised systems, shame.