Tuesday, September 6, 2011

One door

A while ago in government-land there was discussion of this one door idea, where if someone walked into a government office or rang up a government telephone or emailed a government computer, the person who talked to them would help them find the service or information they needed, rather than saying, 'aaaw, that's the Department of Sod Off's responsibility, I couldn't possibly help you'.

First things first, it kind of came as a shock to me that many government employees weren't very interested in applying this concept. Although as a person with a rich and nuanced relationship with Centrelink, you'd think I would know better*. Some people really resent being made to look outside their tunnel, it seems.

Second, you realise after a bit that government is damnably complicated and it's not so much that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing but that the left hands are all off together playing Twister with an octopus, while the right hands are trying to make margaritas out of sunshine and pith helmets, while being given advice by someone who thinks there is no credible evidence as to the existence of cocktails of any kind.

Thirdly, lots of us don't really deal with the public very much and get used to dealing with people who are already very well informed about the problems they are trying to deal with and how government works, so it's actually a bit of a shock when someone rings up asking for help.

I like the idea of one door. I hate abandoning people who need help. I try hard to find the right person or information they need. But sometimes it's actually bloody impossible and sometimes there is no help available, for one reason or another.


*Also recognising the many wonderful and helpful people from Centrelink who helped solve the problems and idiocies caused by the hideous and unhelpful people from Centrelink and various hideous and unhelpful government policies of the day. Policies du jour. I would rather soup, thanks.

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