Apparently, the taoiseach was impressed with New York’s 311 service when he visited the city earlier this year, and thinks it’s an idea worth copying.
‘The Irish Government is planning to introduce the number in an effort to improve customer services,’ according to the Irish Independent report today.
I’m not a customer, I’m a citizen dammit, but let’s ignore the inappropriate use of the market terminology and think about the idea.
Anyone who has spent any time at all trying to phone a company is familiar with the maze of phone menus that have to be negotiated before speaking to a live human being.
Now think about how many services the government provides.
By one estimate, there may be as many as a thousand quangos out there, in addition to the multitude of services provided by civil servants who haven’t been hived off to other agencies.
That’s a lot of multiple choice options to press once you dial the One Number.
Not to mention the problems once someone decides speech recognition phone menus would be a good idea.
Let’s hope there’s some catchy muzak while the nation is put on hold.