I think we have all experienced the frustration of dealing with automated self service helplines. So as we look to adopt more technology throughout our public services what impact might this have?
I’ve been writing to newspapers across London about this issue and you can see a copy of my latter below.
Dear Sir,

I am sure your readers have all experienced the frustration of so-called “self-service helplines”.

Too often they mean a long wait, punctuated by messages telling you your call is important, then a conversation with someone who cannot help.

I understand the commercial reality behind these systems and appreciate that they provide considerable savings for firms, especially when tackling frequent and simple questions. 

When it comes to public services, however, I wonder whether we should not hold ourselves to higher standards. 

While I am the first to argue that technology and automation have a very important future, and that cost-savings are one of those benefits, I believe taxpayers deserve the best from our public authorities.

Progress must not be allowed to bring levels of frustration many of us seem to be experiencing on other lines. This is especially true for older people or the frail.

I hope this will be taken into account as we move towards a more automated world.

Yours sincerely,
Syed Kamall, MEP for London.
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