WRITTEN ON April 13th, 2009 BY William Heath AND STORED IN What do we want?, Wibbipedia/MindtheGap

Ok *deep breath* Forget all the bad stuff. Let’s dispel this weekend’s smeary vibes and engage in some public discourse using only the language of Wibbies: Would It Be Better If…

We need help!

Sam, Emily and I plan to put into circulation a brand new UK Feedback-style web site which asks for the unvarnished account of what public services feel like at the receiving end. The only proviso is that for each episode we ask for a Wibbi. In essence: “It was like this, but it could have been like that”.

This has, we feel, some constructive potential as a broad-based suggestion scheme. It’s an outlet whose only requirement is that feedback be constructive.

There’s upside in that some significant parts of government have undertaken to listen.

There are risks to avoid. We don’t want people reciting party manifestos or rehearsing what they would say if they were on Question Time. We dont want Guido versus Dolly Draper, vile language or any endless repetition of hard-wired positions on policy issues of the day.

What we now need are some good “starters for 10” – some model narrative descriptions of everyday public services coupled with “Wouldn’t it be better if…” I’ll trawl the IdealGov archive. I may do a bit of emailing out, so stand by for some spam. But if you’ve got any good ones (just done a tax return? applied for a benefit? had a run-in with the strong arm of the law? had dealings with asylum seekers, victims of crime or the military?) do please email me or leave a comment here. Thanks!

2 Responses to “Help! Tell us your public experiences and sketch out some Wibbies!”

Richard S wrote on April 14th, 2009 12:13 am :

What is the intended scope of this new site?
– Services provided by central government?
– … provided by government agencies & quangos?
– … provided by local government?
– … provided by (essential) utility companies?
– … etc.?

For example, I’ve recently had brushes with our local council’s planning Development Framework; and with a specific planning application. These were partly via the web and partly via exhibitions & meetings etc.

Adrian R D Norman wrote on April 14th, 2009 2:17 pm :

WIBBI the NHS used modern communications.

I am writing this while waiting for an un-engaged telephone line to my doctor’s surgery to leave an administrative message asking for another administrative message to be sent to another part of the NHS half a kilometre away. The content of the latter is not private but the surgery has forgotten to send it for a fortnight.

I have been using e-mail for 25 years and text messages on my mobile for nearly a decade. Both are more reliable than the post or voice messages on answerphones. Having observed the NHS from the inside for much of the last year following heart surgery, I have been struck by the contrast between the excellence of the medical care and the primitive quality of the administration. The latter reminds me of the civil service in the 1970’s which was then a decade behind finance, transport, manufacturing, retailing and publishing in handling information and communications around the world. Co-operation up and down the supply chain and competition across it drove change; advances in one industry were adopted quickly and failures exposed early while they were comparatively small.

Will the NHS never learn?