The digital revolution sweeps on. Much of it is miracle technology that makes lives easier and better. It is transforming shopping, entertainment, media and much else.
Parts of the public sector though are making technology into a misery machine to spy on us , infuriate us and thwart us. Let us take the NHS CV 19 app and proof of vaccination which we now have to show in order to attend certain events. We all have a perfectly good card with our name on it and the schedule of vaccines administered with dates on them. Why can’t I just show that? When I came to print out the computer record as requested I found I could not read and check the computer record because it was encrypted in a scan code.I have no idea what it says and so do not know if it is accurate. I had to go through a duo access procedure which did not work at all on the first two occasions I tried. Eventually I was able to print out a scan code but the paper also then said it was only valid for two days although the explanatory note said it would be for a month. As I was preparing diary items a week in advance it meant I had to go through the palaver the night before the event again!I dread to think how much we taxpayers had to pay for such a poor and pointless service.
The other day I had to park in a different Council area to my own in west London. The Council had blocked many of the streets permanently and several temporarily so it was difficult accessing the on street parking and I like most of the traffic had to spend a long time crawling and stopping in congestion on the main roads. When I eventually found a surprising three slots empty for two hours next to a ticket machine I was overjoyed, only to find the machine said it was not functioning. Like others I was too afraid of tow away and of high fines for not paying so I carried on circulating.
Eventually I found a single slot. It said I had to pay by phone. I rang the number . I was told I had to download an app. I did so. That told me I had to register. I did so answering a range of questions about me and the phone. Then it asked me details about the parking. I supplied those. Then it told me I had not supplied details of the car so I had to go back to registration to do that. It eventually let me specify the parking I wanted to do. The guide to the parking was ambiguous about hours and prices. I guessed a time I wanted, only then to discover after 10 mins the parking would be free all evening. I ended up paying £1 for the ten minutes and had peace of mind that I had complied.All this had to done on a tiny phone screen which was difficult to read in sunlight. It was so much easier when you simply put coins into a ticket machine.
Wouldn’t it be a good idea if these public services thought more about the convenience of the users. Will you write in with your examples of bad service from the public sector?