Yesterday I received an e-mail from Nick Clegg's office in response to one I had sent to him back in August. Not a quick response I hear you say? Well, indeed. Funnily enough, the reason I wrote to him in the first place was due to this snail-like response of his office to e-mail correspondence.
Let me explain...
Back in August I'd been contacted by a local resident in Cardigan who happens to be a Liberal Democrat member as well. He had e-mailed Nick Clegg on a number of policy based issues that were on his mind. But the response was not quickly forthcoming and so he asked me to help him in inducing a response from the Deputy Prime Minister. I therefore sent this e-mail (with his name blocked out for confidentiality) to one of Nick Clegg's many e-mail addresses...
Mark Cole, Aug-11 19:40 (BST):
You recently received correspondence from **** **** who is a Lib Dem member in Cardigan. As he mentions below, he has had no response to that communication - not even an acknowledgement.
He understands that your office will be busy, dealing with a mountain of correspondence I'm sure but he would appreciate a holding response until he receives a fuller reply in due course.
Could I therefore suggest as a follow-on to this that an automatic e-mail acknowledgement system is set-up? Our local Lib Dem MP Mark Williams has one so that local residents know that their e-mails have arrived safely. Just an idea.
I would greatly appreciate it if your office could reply to **** as he is a conscientious member of the party.
With kind regards,
Well, 2 months have rolled on and suddenly, out of the blue, I received from a member of Nick's staff this e-mail in response yesterday...Cllr Mark Cole
**** ****, Oct-12 15:30 (BST):
Dear Cllr Cole,
Thank you for your email and your suggestions to Nick Clegg MP. I am replying on his behalf.
I am sorry that **** **** had to wait so long for a response, and that he did not receive an acknowledgement on sending his message. We have now contacted **** **** addressing some of his concerns.
We have recently moved to a new system to manage and respond to correspondence, and we have experienced a few problems with this. We have now resolved the issue and acknowledgement emails should be sent out to everyone who contacts Nick.
Thank you for your email and your concern. You were quite right to point out that **** **** had not received a response, and we hope that the situation has now been resolved. Needless to say we are reviewing our systems in order to deal with correspondence more efficiently.
So there we have it. Clearly, Nick's office has been experiencing problems in dealing with what I'm sure is a deluge of correspondence. But as eventually explained in the e-mail, hopefully all is now in hand and whilst there was a long wait in getting a response I'm pleased that one was eventually received and with sincere apologies for the delay.Office of Nick Clegg MP