Framework Fantasies: Unachievable Promises Made to be Broken
If ALS were running a mobile phone operator business...
I was thinking of an analogy between service levels promised by ALS under the FWA and service levels in the typical mobile phone contract.
ALS promised a "98% fill rate on all the bookings", meaning that they will supply an interpreter in at least 49 out of 50 cases when an interpreter is booked through them, and that ALL the bookings for interpreters from HMCTS will be passed to ALS.
The quality level promised is that interpreters will be of the requested Tier or higher.
A mobile phone operator promising a "98% coverage" means that they will connect you to the number you are calling in 49 out of 50 times when you dial a number and press the Call button on condition that ALL your phone calls will be made from this mobile phone and via this operator.
The quality level promised is that you will have a clear sound and two way communication.
Now imagine "if ALS were running a mobile phone operator service"...
They would promise you savings of £18 on every £60 you used to spend on mobile phone services.
You would only be connected in 2 cases out of 5.
You would quickly have to resort to calling from street payphones and asking for "reverse charge calls" or beg passers-by to use their mobile in 3 out of 5 cases when ALS fails to connect you on your brand new spanking ALS-phone.
When they do connect you, you would either have an appalling sound quality or there would be no "two way communication" because ALS would use dirt cheap simplest IP telephony channels via India or where you and another caller would have to speak in turn (a bit like the "over" when talking over the radio walkie talkie).
Your itemised billing would only come 3 months later, despite promises of having the possibility of viewing all the itemised billing information live "via the secure online portal".
Their itemised billing would show that they connected you on 81% of occasions and that ALS is steadily and sustainably improving their level of service to you.
When you challenged them to say that they only connect you in 40% of cases, they would reply that "the person on the other end of the line was out of coverage area or did not answer their phone when you ring them".
ALS would insist on taking recurring card payments from your corporate credit card.
You would have no control over how much they would take every month as the amount they would charge and take would be based on THEIR (!) management information.
Your ALS mobile phone contract would contain "service level clauses" which would say that for every occasion that ALS fail to connect your call, they would connect another call free. However, you would never invoke this clause because:
- You would never know that ALS actually failed to connect you because it is ALS and not you who would collect management information;
- You would never invoke that clause because if this clause was invoked, it could bankrupt ALS.
You would keep "no centralised records" of:
- how many calls you made, how often you had to use payphone booths and ask for "reverse charge calls" and how often you begged passers by to use their phone because it would be JUST TOO DAMN EMBARRASSING!
- how much money ALS took from your credit card;
- how much money you spent on payphones and how much money other callers spent on "reverse charge calls" made by you;
- how much disruption to your business, work, family and personal life and work of your business partners, work colleagues and life of your family, relatives and friends was caused by you not being able to get a line on your ALS mobile phone in 3 cases out of 5.
It would be impossible for you to say whether, since the 30th January when your ALS mobile phone "fully managed" contract started, performance levels are higher, lower or similar to those under the previous arrangements because... you were on the "pay as you go" service!
For the reasons above you would never know whether the ALS mobile phone contract actually saves you any money at all because you never calculated how much you used to be spending previously on "pay as you go" and you would not be able to work out how much the ALS "contract" actually costs you in terms of money you pay ALS, that you spend in small change on phone booths and in losses you incur because of the disruption that this "contract" does to your life.