Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The best call centre job going

When confronted by the idea that a call centre for municipal services — estimated to cost $3.3 million to equip and $1.9 million annually to operate if staffed by city employees — could be contracted out to existing firms, "several" councillors said that "they would never contract out such a service."

Why is that? Whether out of an adherence to some parochial-level form of nationalistic hubris (municipalism?) or, as is more likely, patronage of their bureaucratic and civic union clients, the refusal of these councillors to even entertain cost-saving proposals hardly squares with the objective of "serving our public" that the call centre is supposed to meet. Given the current frustration of trying to reach appropriate departments, a one-stop call centre for municipal services would certainly be a welcome added service for taxpayers who are expected to pay for them anyway, but there is hardly any added service in having the call centre staffed by highly-paid unionized city employees.

Despite the resistance of these councillors and chief administrative officer Jeff Fielding, however, staff has at least been directed to report to council on the savings of hiring a private firm.


WE Speak said...

What's wrong with issuing an RFP and allowing Municipal employees to bid on the process along with private providers? If there is a business case to be made, make it.

Automatically in-sourcing this is simply about bureaucratic empire building and control.

Windsor has had 311 for several years now, and as per ususal, the costs only continue to grow. The next thing you'll see is "due to higher than expected call volumes we require..." . To make things worse, Windsor has now decided to add 211 service to the 311 service, uploading a service that was previously done by a United Way agency. Now the call centre wants a new location with all the bells and whistles. For example, each shift supervisor (they supervise 3 to 4 employees) needs to have their own office, because it's too difficult to share.

Marginalized Action Dinosaur said...

damm Fenris,

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