Posted tagged ‘effort’

Just a little effort

December 1, 2010

Today I got a phone call.  Not in and of itself an exciting event admittedly; in fact it was nothing to do with my day job at all, and was someone who was trying to get through to the rent office to pay their bills.  I work nowhere near this team and have never even encountered them, so had to rely on the vagaries of our intranet and internal phone list to find a suitable person to put them through to, which I did.  I also gave them the number I was sending them to, just in case they got lost along the way.

Normally that would be that and I’d go about my day, forgetting about them as surely as a politician forgets a manifesto pledge.  However, today I decided to take a leaf out of my own book and do something a bit extra.  We have new fangled phones in the office which record the phone numbers of incoming calls, in case you miss them or want to call someone back easily.  So I did a little research, found out a few more rent-related numbers in the borough and called the person back in the afternoon to check whether or not they had got through to someone and sorted out their issue.

Okay, so I got through to an answerphone, but I left a message and my number along with a message to explain that I wasn’t stalking them.  All of this took an extra couple of minutes, but I’d like to think that it might have had the dual benefit of helping that person out and also giving them a good experience of calling the Council.  In the grand scheme of things it was no hassle, and had the added bonus of making me feel like I’d done at least one good turn for the day. (more…)

It’s above my head, that

September 29, 2010

It’s above my head, that

Well above my pay grade

More trouble than it’s worth

That’s not in the job description

The above are amongst my favourite sayings in local government. Many times I have asked a fellow member of staff for some help and been met with one of the above.

The workings of local government are constantly slowed by the jobsworths amongst us. An example from this morning and many others from the past exemplify the problem:

As your boss is away could you quickly provide me with the finance information for your department?

It’s above my head, that

I just need someone from comms to sign off this press release/e-mail so I can get moving with this

Well above my pay grade

I know this is short notice but is there anyway you could run the printing press after 4:30 this afternoon so we can get the reports done before the end of the day

More trouble than it’s worth

Any chance of assisting me in fighting the gang of ninjas who are attacking the office?

That’s definitely not in the job description

It’s not just that people don’t want to take responsibility; there is a culture of people being both slavish to their job description and scared to go further. Plus, our managers are at fault too; over-reaching from a keen member of staff can lead to upset senior managers and a stern telling off.

If the Big Society is truly about empowerment then I can think of a group of people who could really benefit: junior local government staff.