11 May 2012

The Revs & Bens backlog

The Revs and Bens backlog will build following the exit of the Head of Revs & Bens Dave Sharpe and the move of staff out of Revs & Bens and into a call centre and the ridiculous categorising of calls into levels or tiers of difficulty (tears of frustration for users) instead of just letting the calls be dealt with immediately. This is the slice and dice approach that procurement plans to take to suppliers which makes some sense in their case as they are analysing static historic data and not trying to deal with a confused person on the telephone.

The message recently being sent in response to enquiries is (with Mr Mustard added commentary in red )

> Thank you for your email enquiry to the London Borough of Barnet Council
> Tax Team.
> Following the recent issue of council tax bills for the new 
> financial year, we are currently experiencing a high volume of enquiries
> and may be unable to deal with your email within our normal 10 working
> days. What a convenient excuse for us to use. In fact we are busy messing up the 
> department and need to decide what level of query you are.
> We will respond to you as soon as possible and apologise in
> advance for any delay. We haven't helpfully told you how long the delay might be.
> If you have not yet received your Council Tax 2012-13 bill, it should be
> with you in the next few days. Last year we really messed up the issue of council tax 
> bills because of a forced software change. Did we get any money back from the supplier who pulled the plug?
> Information about Council Tax can be found on our website at
> http://www.barnet.gov.uk/council-tax , Council Tax is a contribution you must make in > order to help to pay for local services. Unlike PAYE which seems to be optional in Barnet.
> including frequently asked questions at  
> http://www.barnet.gov.uk/faq-council-tax-faq. these have moved somewhere in the new website
> Payments can also be made on line at
> http://www.barnet.gov.uk/online-services/online-payments these have moved to here
> Please remember to always quote your Council Tax account reference
> number in the subject line of all further emails to assist in speeding
> up a response. Sensible idea.
> Make life easier - pay your Council Tax by Direct Debit Make life easier for the council. It doesn't make it easier for you if the council make a direct debit blunder and take payment twice as they have been known to do in the past. If the council doesn't have your bank details they can't stick their shovel into your bank account.

Mr Mustard knows that in the past this has been a high performing service. The department has to reclaim funds from the government and sloppy records will equate to lost revenue. Every month the department has to send statistics to the Department for Work and Pensions about how up to date or otherwise the department is. Mr Mustard is going to bring you those figures soon to see if the high stakes game being played by the Assistant Director of Customer Services will end badly or well.
Yours frugally
Mr Mustard

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