Archive for March 18, 2011

Just not thinking it through

March 18, 2011

Just trying to do my job...

I heard a story the other day that literally made me want to punch a wall. If ever evidence of the failures of the public sector were needed this is it.

I was spending some time with staff who work for a tele-care service. This service is designed for elderly and otherwise vulnerable people. Each one is given an emergency alarm and if they have a fall they can simply press the button and be able to speak to someone in the council’s call centre, no matter where they are in their home.

If the person who falls is in need of some assistance the tele-care service send round a member of staff with a key to get in and provide assistance. If the case is more serious and an ambulance is needed then the tele-care service call the ambulance and then get round to the house to let the ambulance in.

The staff who provide this service work on a 24 hour rota and are often called upon at any time of day or night.

This is where the problem sets in: The staff often find it difficult to park in the streets of this windy town centre and therefore often need to leave their cars in spaces for which they do not have a permit. Not a problem you might think as these staff are responding to urgent requests from members of the public. Well, you’d be wrong.

The jobsworths of the parking department (in fairness it is not necessarily the poor enforcement staff who are just following orders) refuse to give these staff members exemptions for when they are on duty and are more than happy to hand out parking fines for the staff responsible.

In another touch of bureaucratic cruelty the staff members are then left responsible for the parking fines themselves as council policy is not to refund any parking fines. So, staff who are doing their job and meeting an urgent need not only get the indignity of receiving a parking fine but are also made to pay for their own ticket.

This has got to stop: surely it is not beyond the wit of the council to give these staff a permit for the evening which tells the enforcement staff not to ticket them, surely! And if the car is dangerous the permit could even have a contact number on so that could be resolved too. It beggars belief that problems like this are still unsorted.

Come on Local Government; sometimes, you make it just too easy for Eric Pickles and co.