Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 24/04/06

Called Off

I'm always reluctant to talk about my place of work here. There may be Dark Forces at work, watching my every move, hearing my every comment, ready to catapult me into Oblivion.

Well, if there are, they can sod off for once.

I reported here about the changes being made to the work I do. Well, part of the change was the setting up of a Help Desk, which people would now phone with their IT problems, rather than coming to us. We would be left to do whatever the Help Desk couldn't resolve themselves.

We were given the date for the cutover: 24 April. And so, we sent out e-mail circulars to all our users, leaflets were put on every desk and posters were put up. All advising people of the Help Desk number, and telling them to call them instead.

So in I went to work this morning, happy in the knowledge that I would no longer get calls from people unable to remember their system passwords after the weekend's excesses, people whose workstations didn't work (standard response #1: "Have you tried switching it off and back on again?"), and people who couldn't tell a data cable from a date box.

My euphoria lasted about twenty minutes, until a colleague hove into view. He'd been unable to get his mouse to work, so had done the right thing and phoned the Help Desk. After giving them all the information they asked for, Help Desk Bod then said that my colleague shouldn't have called their number. Our Area hadn't gone live with the new system yet.

This was slightly mystifying, and we put it down to the usual miscommunication within our contractor. Until it happened again when someone phoned them to have their password reset.

(A brief digression here as to how the new, outsourced system is so much better than the old, hide-bound, inefficient one we used to run: in the Olden Tymes, if someone needed their password resetting, they'd phone us, we'd reset it and they'd be back working within a minute or so. Now, in the Golden Future, if someone needs their password resetting, they call an 0845 number, get put through to a Help Desk up to 160 miles away, their details are noted, and then the Help Desk passes it back to us. Under the Service Level Agreement, we then have up to four hours to reset their password. I'm sure you'll agree, boys and girls, that that's a huge improvement!).

Anyway, colleague number two was told much the same thing as the first one.

Mystery deepening into bafflement, my colleague Chris (being senior to me in grade if not in years) decided to phone the Help Desk himself. On enquiring, he too was told that our Area hadn't gone live yet. Further phone calls were made and, after a space of about three hours, we were told officially that our 'go-live' date was, in fact, May 2!.

Yes, they'd put the date back a week, and no-one had told us, told our manager, or told his manager!

Abso-sodding-lutely in-bloody-credible!

I know where the blame lies. I mentioned in my earlier piece (linked from the third paragraph of this whinge) that the people in the Depratment who are have been (for want of a more accurate phrase) in charge of the outsourcing arrangements have been deeply reluctant to let anyone else in on their little empire. What information (often vital) which has got out has only done so by chance. Here, I believe, is where the problem once again lies. And, of course, we didn't need to know that the date had changed, did we? We just get on with it and do as we're told (or not told, as the case may be).

Today's events have made us all feel like a right bunch of wassocks, even though we know that our former clients will be sure that the blame doesn't lie with us. What sort of impression does this create? And when will arses be kicked and gonads twisted with monkey wrenches for such bungling?

I won't hold my breath...