Feb. 2013 – much of the detail of this post has been dealt with by the UK government’s new web site but many government web sites still need to be improved.

Not for the first time UK government web sites have thwarted me.  I needed to check the contact details of the local DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) office for a client .  Here’s the saga…

…find the DWP web site

…first wee irritation – the Contact Us page as it appears on my PC has what is clearly meant to be a footer for the government’s all-singing all-dancing access site Directgov splattered across the text at the top of the page.  If you need the first line of the address for Attendance Allowance enquiries – unlucky (on past experience if anyone ever comes back to me about this I’ll be told it’s my fault due to the settings on my PC)…

…more to the point with my query the Local Office (non-)Search Facility takes you to another page which in turn directs you to the dreaded Directgov site, wherein all sane men and women finally lose the plot…

…the Directgov web site

…a page appears that invites you to “Contact Jobcentre Plus” through a “local office” search by writing in your postcode (not sure that’s what my client needs but nevertheless it’s the only option given) …

…which on attempt 1 returns “No locations found” and on attempt 2 says (I quote word for word)

1 office found

If you do not want to contact Jobcentre Plus then you can use the Close button to close this window.

Your message will be sent to a central team in Jobcentre Plus, not to your local Jobcentre or Jobcentre Plus office.

Please note that this is not a secure facility and you should not send confidential information.

Aberdeen Benefit Delivery Centre

(This office is not open to the public)
Jobcentre Plus
Wellington Circle
United Kingdom
AB99 8AA
Telephone: Mail opening only
Employment and Support Allowance
Benefit Delivery Centre

…and an invitation to click on a button that says “Contact” and opens my e-mail browser with the e-mail address < contact-us@jobcentreplus.gsi.gov.uk> and the subject line “JCP Contact Us Local Office – Aberdeen Benefit Delivery Centre”.

So if I were to try and contact the local office I can now only do so by e-mail to a central team who may pass on my details to an office with no public access who may contact me.

In more than one post I’ve made the point that all work processes should add value for the customer and eliminate NVA (non-value added work).  I think I know how this one stacks up.

I might just stroll up the road to see if there’s a human being who’s willing to speak to me.