Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘Independent

A Fundamental Problem At The BBC

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I am very close to being the BBC’s biggest fan.  It is a remarkable and entirely unique institution.  Somehow it occupies a place between the state and the people which I can find no comparison for.  It would be easy to define it as some sort of socialist idea but it is genuinely independent from the state.  I do, however, have some concerns about its accountability.  I am very concerned about the way it handles complaints.

No Complaints Accepted Here

I have grown up with the BBC and I trust it.  In fact, I think that it’s done a better job of maintaining Britishness and values of integrity, tolerance, fairness and justice than any UK government of any political complexion.  That’s why the curmudgeons in all political parties turn against it.  I think Jeremy Hunt’s recent attacks and comments were particularly poorly judged.  He hasn’t a had a good start in government at all has he?

I made a complaint to the BBC recently and I am very, very unhappy about the way it has been handled.   The subject is not relevant here.  I shall write about it in future but for now it would distract from my point.  I am horrified to discover that the BBC does not handle complaints itself.   They are outsourced to Capita in Belfast which describes itself as “the UK’s leading outsourcing company…at the leading edge of redefining and transforming services to the public.”  For me that needs a huge pinch of salt, a mountain in fact and even then I’m choking on it.

Handling complaints should be at the very heart of an organisation.  It is the essence of your brand.  There is no more important management function.  Contracting them out is an abdication of responsibility.  More than that, it is a complete failure of integrity, a massive mistake.   If an organisation is truly committed to meeting its customers’ needs it must be as close to them as possible.  This irresponsibility strikes at the very heart of everything I value about the BBC.  I am deeply disillusioned.

If this disastrous decision had resulted in a well administered service then that might be some consolation but not a bit of it.  It is dreadful.  Every bit as bad as any horror story you’ve heard about British Gas, BT or yes, even a bank.  This is the British consumer experience at its very worst.

Not What It Used To Be

In sharp contrast to the rest of the BBC’s websites, try making a complaint online.  It’s like something from the very early days of the internet with clumsy, badly aligned fields and an archaic feel.  I almost expect to hear a modem whistling away in the background.  From a complainant’s point of view it’s quite useless.  You don’t get any option to save a copy of your complaint or email it to yourself.  You don’t even get an acknowledgement once you’ve completed it so you’re left with a completely unsatisfactory feeling of uncertainty.  Did they get it or not?  Will I get a reply?  When?

It gets worse.  Complaints are lost.  They don’t get answered at all.  They certainly don’t get answered within the 10 working days promised.  One answer I received was just laughable in its anodyne, crass simplicity.  It was nothing more than an patronising acknowledgement of what I was “unhappy about”.

Useless

I could go on even further but I won’t.  It does get even worse and it becomes embarrassingly so when Capita start to trot out the oldest excuse of all about “system problems”.  It is an excruciatingly bad, defining example of appalling customer service.  I’d say it takes the biscuit.

All this is the inevitable result of outsourcing your complaints procedure.  That aspect of business that should be one of your most important tools.  What’s worse is that Capita are absolutely useless at doing the job.

It is no exaggeration to say that, for me, this rocks the very foundations of everything I believed about the BBC to the very core.  It is not the organisation I thought it was.  I feel betrayed.  I am “disgusted of Tunbridge Wells”.   In fact,  I am very, very, very disgusted of Weymouth, Dorset.

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Thug Smellie Gets Away With It

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Fugitive From Justice

Another miserable day for British justice.  Another scandalous triumph for police brutality.  Another incompetent, unforgiveable failure by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.  “Independent” my ****.   Weak, corrupt and pointless more like!

Sergeant Delroy Smellie, who should be languishing in jail for several years, in segregation for his own safety, has got away with his brutal assault on Nicola Fisher at the G20 protest.  See the full story here.

This is a licence for British police officers to use violence and brutality whenever they wish, even when they are being filmed.  Whatever the evidence they will get away with it.

It took the Metropolitan Police 30 years to admit they murdered Blair Peach.  Somehow, in the face of the crystal clear facts they have been able to get Smellie off the hook.  This failure of the Courts and the IPCC to call him to account can only be corrupt.  There can be no other explanation.

What about the assault on Ian Tomlinson?  He died after another Metropolitan Police thug assaulted him at the G20 protest.  More than a year later we are still waiting for the officer concerned to be charged.  What hope is there for justice for him?

Welcome to my world!

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Peter Reynolds is a writer, communications advisor and proud Welshman. He lives in a small town called Emsworth, between Portsmouth and Chichester on the south coast of England. After “dropping out” from life as a hippy musician, Peter experimented with direct sales and the motor trade before training as a copywriter and eventually making it to the top of his profession as a creative director with Saatchi & Saatchi. Along the way he developed special expertise in technology and healthcare working with clients such as IBM, Hewlett Packard, GSK and the Department of Health. He also worked as a freelance journalist writing for just about every PC magazine then on the market and had a weekly column in The Independent based on the simple idea of riding a bike but ranging across subjects such as politics, sport, technology and the media. Since the 1990s he has worked as a consultant to organisations such as Nokia, the British Army and Pinewood Studios. In 2004 he established Leading Edge Personal Technology as “the magazine for technology enthusiasts”. He continues to write on a wide range of subjects.