Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Police, performance indicators and customer service

The claims from the Police Federation that Performance Indicators are distorting police work is hardly surprising.

The stress on PIs seen throughout public services is perhaps accentuated in the case of the police due to its peculiarities.

When I last visited my local police station (a minor motoring offence, I hasten to add), it wasn't open at the advertised hours and the bell/link to another local station that was (also) meant to be open just rang and rang. When I phoned to complain later, I discovered that the local constabulary had no mechanism for complaints unless it was about bent coppers. (Perhaps I was misinformed - if I was, thats not too impressive either.)

What other public service would consider normal or reasonable the absence of a feedback loop in the form of assessing and addressing complaints? Housing associations aren't only expected to have complaints processes - but they are meant to have one that does feed into performance improvement through organisational learning.

Surely there needs to be a focus on building a culture of customer service rather than just focussing (and perhaps manipulating) a set of PI "metrics".

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