Passing the buck

PUBLISHED: 18:23 11 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:34 06 May 2010

SIR, — I was astonished to learn (Herts Advertiser, September 4) that St Albans District Council is now exporting complaints to an outside firm and at a cost to the council taxpayer. A complaint is usually made if a job or procedure has not been accompli

SIR, - I was astonished to learn (Herts Advertiser, September 4) that St Albans District Council is now exporting complaints to an outside firm and at a cost to the council taxpayer.

A complaint is usually made if a job or procedure has not been accomplished satisfactorily. By replying to the complaint, the perpetrator has to explain, and accept responsibility for, the unsatisfactory action, thereby ensuring, if possible, that that action is not repeated. If the complaint is passed on to an outsider, the perpetrator will not be facing up to his/her responsibility. This is known as "passing the buck" and is not an admirable trait. You will know that President Truman famously placed a sign on his desk that said: "The buck stops here". Why is St Albans District Council not doing the same and facing up to its responsibility?

The council spokesperson is quoted as saying that complaintsRgreat "was a company with extensive experience in local government complaint management" - which sounds as if they manage the complaint but not the cause of the complaint.

There are enough demands on the finances of the council without adding this unnecessary burden. The financial resources in these straitened times could be better deployed for greater benefit to the community if council employees faced up to the tasks for which they were appointed and for which they are paid. If they fail to measure up, they should be fired, as in any normal organisation.

I very much hope the council will cease any further transactions with a company whose name suggests that they thrive on complaints and are therefore only too happy to make profits at the taxpayers' expense.

SHELAGH COLLINGWOOD,

Clarence Road, Harpenden.

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