Not so great

PUBLISHED: 18:22 11 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:34 06 May 2010

SIR, — I was very disturbed to read (Herts Advertiser, September 4) that St Albans District Council is using the services of consultants, complaintsRgreat limited, to deal with some complaints received by the council. Even if there is a vetting process t

SIR, - I was very disturbed to read (Herts Advertiser, September 4) that St Albans District Council is using the services of consultants, complaintsRgreat limited, to deal with some complaints received by the council. Even if there is a vetting process to determine which complaints are referred to these consultants, surely complaints to the council should be dealt with by the council as the provider of services to constituents, leaving it to the complainant to take the matter further if not satisfied.

It is axiomatic that any provider of services must respond to criticism themselves in an open and straightforward way so as to learn any lessons and to take any remedial measures to improve or correct services that might be required. It may be a moot point whether consultants should be called in to assist or advise in dealing with specific complaints but the fundamental responsibility lies with the service provider. Shifting practical responsibility to a third party for some complaints must be wholly wrong.

Under the Freedom of Information Act I have asked the council's chief executive to let me know the cost of the services provided by these consultants, when the contract was signed and the contract term. Many readers would no doubt agree there is too much secrecy in governmental organisations. We all have the right to know how our money is spent.

BRYAN FEWELL,

Clarence Road, Harpenden.

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