The Bureaucrat Mind – Hopefully a Happy Ending in Sight

I had a phone call from a constituent  regarding a problem with getting rid of a small refrigerator. Babergh has a Refuse Hot Line to deal with oversize items who informed our man that his small refrigerator could not be collected as he lives above ground level on the first floor.
The refrigerator could however be collected if he placed on it on the pavement.
The constituent is in his eighties and lives in sheltered accommodation. The Refuse Hotline was unable to suggest how the refrigerator’s journey from the first floor to the pavement might be accomplished.
I referred the matter to the Council and received the following (edited) response:
This is the official (and correct!)  ‘jobsworth’ response. Despite appearing unhelpful, there are good reasons why we discourage our contractors from entering people’s properties. Health and safety – carriage of heavy loads etc., is only one issue here, but must be considered. Additionally there is the risk, as happened last year, of facing accusations of damage and removal of the wrong appliance (resulting in a not insignificant compensation claim!!). In addition – with the firm commercial hat on – our service and cost is based on a ‘time per call’ which is in reality a matter of minutes. We therefore need to manage the time spent by operatives on site to avoid variation claims by the contractor. 
Usually we would respectfully request anyone with difficulties to ask a neighbour or family member to help out in the interests of community spirit and this is normally successful. However, there are always exceptional cases that we should strive to resolve and this may be one – 80 year old in sheltered accommodation etc.
I will forward to the client team and establish if a solution can be arrived at, or suggestions can be made.
So definitely a bureaucrat with a heart and hopefully there is a happy ending in sight.
However the only valid reason for not going above the ground floor is the financial one and so once again the Council subtly shrinks the service levels and the people most inconvenienced are the vulnerable and the disadvantaged.

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