Smile when you
call me that!
The famous words from poet John Lydgate – later adapted by President Lincoln – sprang to mind when we read a report to Boston Borough Council: “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.
Obviously, an organisation like Worst Street can’t operate without attracting grumbles, but now has taken the interesting step of devising a policy to deal with “persistent and vexatious complaints.”
In a preamble to the policy a report says the council welcomes feedback when services are appreciated, but also wants to know when things go wrong.
“We are committed to dealing with complaints and provide a high quality service to those who make them in order we can continuously seek to improve our service, systems and procedures.
“As part of this service, the council does not normally limit the contact that customers have with its officers.”
But, it adds: “A very small minority of customers make complaints that are vexatious or unreasonably persistent in order to make life difficult for the council or individuals, rather than genuinely to resolve a grievance.”
It cites examples such as excessive telephoning or sending emails to numerous council officers, and writing long, complex letters every few days and expecting immediate responses;
The report also mentions being abusive to officers in writing, verbally or by use of social media, and refusing to accept a decision by repeatedly arguing the point and complaining about it
The list of what the council considers vexatious is exhaustive, to say the least - to the point where we suspect that merely saying good morning to an employee might meet with a punitive reaction.
It strikes us that there is a degree of over-touchiness here, and that much of the proposals are a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
When a policy like this is drawn up it would be interesting to know the scale of the problem that has prompted it – and we find it hard to believe that the level of aggressive complaints is high enough to warrant it.
In any case, Worst Street already has a little-known policy for dealing with people it considers to be a nuisance.
This takes the form of refusing to speak to them or accept any e-mails other than those sent through the borough’s quote “info” address. Such penalties are enforced for six months before being reviewed.
And again, as regular readers will know, the borough has other petty reprisals up its sleeve if needed. Boston Eye is barred from reading or following the borough on Twitter – and has been excommunicated by the communications department, which now refuses to respond to our emails. Such a petty and pointless recrimination is normally reserved for serial trolls which we are not. Doubtless, though someone feels a lot better for this infantile action.
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