Thursday, 1 May 2008

A model for LAC accountability to users

February 26 saw the first LAC public consultation session which I summarized here and LAC summarized here.

Hours of operation were at the forefront, and we were informed that any change would not likely be instituted until June or July.

There were many other, smaller, issues raised. Increasing user satisfaction means addressing them, but its been two months now with no feedback. These issues should be handled close to the working level, assuming responsibility and authority have been pushed down the line as good management practice demands. Is ADM level involvement really required?

The model is for client responsiveness is TNA, The (UK) National Archives. Here's the meeting announcement for their latest monthly users forum.

Hear what’s happening at TNA and have your say, over lunch
You are invited to attend a meeting of the monthly TNA User Forum, which is open to all users of TNA services.

Lunch is available from 12:15, so the meeting can start at 12:30.

Agenda
Title: The National Archives’ User Forum

Date of Meeting: Thursday 17 April 2008

Time of Meeting: 12:15 for 12:30

Location: Training Room

1. Welcome - Jill Allbrooke, Head of Enquiry Services
2. Matters arising

3. (missing in the original)

4. Programme for improvements to TNA’s public services at Kew (Kew 2008) (standing item) -
Chris Cooper, Kew 2008 Programme Manager
5. Complaints, suggestions and compliments received by The National Archives - Paul Sturm, Quality Manager

6. TNA’s public service performance against our targets (standing item) - Jill Allbrooke

7. Open discussion
8. Next meeting: Thursday 15 May 2008, Talks Room


What I like about this approach is:

1. dealing with matters arising. Clients fear that management will treat meetings like a pressure release valve where users can let off steam, and then close the value again but leaving the heat on. TNA deal with at the next meeting, if they can't be dealt with sooner;
2. being open about complaints, suggestion and compliments raised by other means;
3. maintaining a regular monthly reporting on performance targets;
4. an agenda item for open discussion;
5. a commitment to regular monthly meetings;
6. copies of past meeting minutes and documents available online here.

Providing lunch is a nice touch, a tangible demonstration that the user input is appreciated and of value to the organization.

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