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Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Stupid council

HullCC is amongst, at least amongst the places I have lived as well as from various friends in other council houses around the U.K., the most friendly towards most of the people who lived under its jurisdiction. Of course there are some who live in council houses who do all they can to get as much as possible with the minmum of effort out fof the council. Almost the entire Nottingham council tenant fit that bill but this is not about them or any other problem people (as seen by the council they fall under and yes they have such lists).

Here in Hull it is not the tenants that are the issue it is those, not all, of those they employ, which in some cases are not direct council employees but are some 3rd party company but for the sake of simplicity I will call them all council employees. There are some of these employees who seem to work for them only so that they get paid, not for job satisfaction or, as silly at it may seem to some in this day and age, for employer pleasing or customer satisfaction. Indeed, customer satisfaction seems so low down on their list of priorities it may as well not exist at all. Instead they come and look at a reported problem and if they cannot see or experience that problem within 2 minutes of being in the house they leave with some not so helpful advise as "Call again if the problem returns." The problem with that of course is that because the problem we have (more on that below) is intermittent and can last for one, two, three or more days at a time and the fact that the council themselves, rightly, have to prioritise each incomng problem it can take anywhere from 1 to 8 or more days before they schedule a visit by the men who fix things on behalf of the council. Which means, as laid out by Sods Law, that at the time the men who fix things arrive the intermittent problem is working again!

Exactly that happened to us just yesterday. Our central heating has been intermittently cutting out for te last month or so. Because it has not been unduly cold we didn't really notice it until we had a couple of really cold days and especially nights when the central heating decided it wanted a holiday and cut out. Sometimes this problem lasts for a day sometimes 2 days sometimes 3. But, when the man arrived the problem, as always, didn't exist so he uttered those words above. This is all well and good but at this time of the year, with myself being riddled with arthritis and a child under 2 years old, we cannot really be without the warmth the central heating gives us. Now, I am well aware there are obvious limits on how much time they can, or should, devote to each and every job they get called out to but that said surely if, as customers of the council, a problem has been reported then they are, or should be, duty bound to fix it. Even give that the problem is an intermittent one like ours.

Or is that too much to ask? After recieving an email reply from some faceless person who replied to my not so hypothetical question I am still unsure as to the answer. Basically, he/she said that because the man entered the property at a time when the central heating was working normally he would be unable to locate and fix the problem. The problem I have with that is that surely these systems have some sort of error or problem checking procedure they could employ which if done correctly should show up pointers, if not the actual problem area, as to what and why it is intermittently cutting itself off. In fact, I know there is so why is it not used in such cases? That I do not know and neither did it would seem the person who replied to that very query.

As it stands right now we have an obviously dodgy central heating system which cuts out intermittently. But until such a time as we can have the central heating out of action and at that very moment have the guy who fixes such things in the house the problem will not be fixed. Unless the whole thing packs up totally then they will have to come out and fix the damn thing.

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