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Saturday, 29 June 2013


CSE. In my day it meant Certificate of Secondary Education - the badge of failure. It was the certificate of choice for poorly performing schools. Well, that's what a grammar school boy like me believed.

So when I received a most unwelcome correspondence from Nadine Davies, Head of the Central Capture Unit of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) , emblazoned with a crown and "CSE" I wasn't too impressed.

On closer inspection I discovered that "CSE" referred to Customer Service Excellence; seemingly awarded to DVLA by the Cabinet Office, for delivering "services for all that are efficient, effective, excellent, equitable and empowering – with the citizen always and everywhere at the heart of service provision. With this in mind Customer Service Excellence ® was developed to offer services a practical tool for driving customer-focused change within their organisation."

Pause to reach for the sick bucket.

Who besides DVLA, beloved of car thieves and fraudsters generally, has achieved the CSE certificate. Along with the  Abu Dhabi Visa Section,  the Cemeteries Services - North Lanarkshire Council,  the UK Border Agency in its many guises features strongly in the list  of certificated holders of this award for excellence.

There's the UK Border Agency's Asylum and Appeals Unit, North East Yorkshire and Humber, UK Border Agency, Border Force Complaints Team, UK Border Agency, Customer Team, Liverpool, UK Border Agency, Glasgow Contact Management Teams, UK Border Agency, Immigration Group Public Enquiry Offices, UK Border Agency, International Group, New York and Bogota, UK Border Agency, London City Airport, UK Border Agency, MP's Enquiry Line, UK Border Agency, North East Yorkshire Humber Customer Contact Centre, UK Border Agency, North East Yorkshire Humber Customer Service Unit, UK Border Agency, North East Yorkshire Humber PBS Employment Routes, UK Border Agency, North East Yorkshire Humber PBS Sponsorship, UK Border Agency, South Yorkshire and Humberside Local Immigration Teams and the UKBA Visa Section, Pretoria.

Am I missing something here but isn't the UK Border Agency  a bye word for incompetence, shit management and total lack of financial and ministerial control? So where does the "Customer", "Service", "Excellence" fit in? Oh, all of the above services are provided by G4S - that bastion of quality service delivery. And whilst  National Savings and Investments in Partnership with Siemens ( another G4S client) is awarded this citation, as is Internal Audit Unit, North Eastern Education & Library Board (well I'll be buggered another G4S contract) you won't find the Quality Care Commission listed.

But why am I so exercised about this? Besides this totally fatuous "gong" awarded by the self serving Cabinet Office to its own creations, it is the patronising "Just a little reminder" heading of the correspondence from Ms Davies at the DVLA, telling me that I have to pay £20 to have my driving licence renewed with an up to date photograph, that gets my goat.

Now we're getting to the nub of the matter. My last driving licence photograph was taken in 2003. Then I had a blackish beard, silvery grey distinguished looking hair and a fresh, youthful complexion, even for a 56 year old. Any new photo will show a heavy lidded eyed, heavy jowled old man, white haired with turned down lips and a double chin or three.

I mean, how dare the Government force me to face up to my advancing years and the disappearance of any semblance of eternal youth.

And Mike Jagger is appearing at Glastonbury tonight. Bugger.


Steve said...

So CSE is still a shit D-List award? Nothing has changed.

Anonymous said...

The feedback from the standing customers of the Cemeteries Services - North Lanarkshire Council must have been positive.

jack the Hat said...

Customer Capture Unit sounds sinister.
No doubt if you fail to provide a photo of your distinguished features to DVLA the boys will be round.

Bojo said...

Wish I had had the chance to go to grammar school

Anonymous said...

I met a gin soaked bar room queen in Memphis
She tried to take me upstairs for a ride
She had to heave me into my stair lift
'Cause I just can't climb the stairs these days

Marginalia said...

Dear Steve, I get the feeling our education system failed you.

Dear Anon 1, Hell's exit poll was quite positive.

Dear JtH, I imagine she's all greased up ready to give you a rebore.

Dear Bojo, yep you might have had a proper education.

Dear Anon 2, I never knew the words to that song. What a revelation. Thanks.

The Sagittarian said...

Another great oxymoron - Customer Service|? Bah and hunbug. It's right up there with Information Desk.