Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Accountability at LAC

A short item from UK author Daniel Pink at
shows an example of a restaurant owner who prominently displays his personal cell phone number for clients to call if their dining experience didn't measure up.

That's accountability.

Accountability is something LAC has not been accused of lately. The bad press LAC is getting is in part attributable to lack of dialogue with clients.

Contrast the situation at LAC with that at The UK National Archives. Go to for links to TNA's User Advisory Group, User Forum, and disclosure on complaints received and the action taken. There is a straightforward complaint procedure documented at

In addition the head of the organization holds a well advertised open consultation event on at least an annual basis.

That's accountability.

So what's the situation at LAC? A "What's New" item in later August at informs that:

in May 2011, LAC convened a Stakeholders Forum, comprised of approximately 40 individuals representing national library, archival and historical research communities and organizations.
Apparently only some partners, not clients, are stakeholders. There is the barest information on what was achieved by the meeting.

In the final paragraph of the What's New item there is an undertaking to "look for creative ways to engage all of its stakeholders and client groups in this ongoing consultation process." This is to be evaluated in the first quarter of 2012.  So what has happened? How will the evaluation involve the clients in deciding if the consultation process is satisfactory?

There doesn't seem to be a specific way to register complaints for LAC.  The Contact Us tab at lists ways to request service online, including public inquiries telephone numbers leading to a eight option menu, none of which relate to complaints.

Under the heading "Live Chat Service" it reads:
Within the modernization process, Library and Archives Canada is undertaking the development and implementation of a Thematic Blog pilot project for October 2011. This project will run for three months. For this reason the chat service will not resume at present. Please follow the development of this new communication tool under “What’s new” on our web site.
It's past October and there's nothing posted under "What's New" yet!

Where's the accountability?

1 comment:

turner said...

Brilliant. I spent my entire public service career in client service situations, knowing full well that you had to look your client in the eye sometimes and say you had screwed up. How one would love to give them a kick in the pants.
Brenda Turner