Robbie Watson-Levey is the manager of the complaints department at Essex County Council.
If lying, maladministration, and just general acting terribly with regards to vulnerable residents was an Olympic Sport, Robbie Watson-Levey would win gold.
I cannot emphasise enough how much of a liar Robbie Watson-Levey is. Perfect for ECC because he has a talent for making his department and therefore ECC look good.
I also cannot emphasise how dangerous he is as the manager of the complaints department and puts the residents of Essex at risk with his focus on Public Relations and not on the actual customers.
Here is an article with an interview with our fearless complaints manager where he lies through his teeth for the benefit of Essex County Council.
He won an award, as did his team, how could he possibly be a lying liar who lies? Let me explain.
Robbie Watson-Levey and his team did indeed win awards at the complaints handling awards. They were indeed the first Local Authority to be shortlisted.
Which isn’t that difficult as they are the only local authority to ever enter.
Those awards you see in the photos of the interview cost Essex Residents almost £2500.
The complaint handling awards are what are known as pay to play awards. You are not nominated by someone who is impressed with what you have done. You enter yourself. You have to pay hundreds of pounds to enter yourself. You then have to pay even more to attend the award ceremony, this one was virtual and they paid about £1700 to attend an award ceremony for about an hour.
The cost to enter made up the rest of the money. The company that runs the awards is a for profit private company. Those that enter the awards are solely customers. The company is providing a service, and the customer is buying that service. In this case they are buying the chance to buy the awards.
Every year the amount of categories and the amount of awards in that category change dependent on how many customers enter.
Given that at the time the customers had to pay to enter, and knowing they would need to pay to attend the virtual award ceremony, they were low on customers this year.
Almost all customers get shortlisted, it’s probably actually all of them. They make money from the customers entering the awards, but the big money is in the tickets for the awards ceremony. So it make business sense to shortlist all customers.
There are plenty of awards that ECC are nominated for and win in which the participants are not customers. These are often good for employees to learn from other participants, network, and are in the interests of residents of Essex as there are often conferences and speakers and a whole day or two of learning opportunities before the award ceremonies.
So Robbie Watson-Levey and his team wrote about how wonderful they are. I suspect that Shamsun Noor authorised all of this and likely entered Robbie Watson-Levey as professional of the year.
They paid hundreds of pounds of public money to enter, during a pandemic. They got shortlisted, which was a given. Then paid about £1700 on the day for 11 of them to be part of Robbie Watson-Levey’s and Shamsun Noor’s public relations exercise.
Other local authorities have never been shortlisted because they have to be accountable for how they use public money. Nobody in local government would justify being a customer of a for profit awards business just for a bit of PR. So they have never entered. Surely the goal of a complaints department should be resolving customers complaints, not public relations.
They won an award, it’s not like the residents of Essex get to choose who to make a complaint to. We cannot chose whether or not to have Essex as our local authority when it comes to services. No resident of Essex has the ability to choose. Someone in Hertfordshire is not going to move to Essex just in case they have a problem with the local authority and need to make a complaint.
Robbie Watson-Levey is great at PR, not so great at managing a complaints department. There initiative is also absolutely laughable and quite obvious not true.
The awards are a kick in the face to the many many people who have had problems with Robbie’s complaints department. Turns out, unsurprisingly, i’m not alone.
Proof of what they spent is here:
Link to breakdown of the awards is here:
Link to Robbie celebrating is here:
Now he’s using the fact that no other local authorities will waste public money on entering, and twisting it to make it appear as if him and his department are super special for managing to be the first to be shortlisted.
The only organisation who are really in a position to comment on anything to do with Robbie Watson-Levey’s department is the LGO, they don’t appear to be as enthusiastic regarding their performance.
The next few posts are likely to be regarding the complaints department. This is because when finished, these posts will be at the end of the blog so they will be after what happened. The next post will likely be the email I sent to Robbie Watson-Levey that he never responded to. Which also shows that he is all about covering up and maladministration in his team.