30th August  2021

Two terms that are often confused.

Service Delivery is often referred to as an essential strategy of any enterprise. In many ways, it transcends most other corporate functions. It relates to the interaction between the service provider and the consumer of that service, a facet of all organisations, no matter their function, and is quantifiable, so success or otherwise can be monitored.

Service Management, however, refers to the whole of the organisation and how its function is targeted at delivering the service it produces. Resourcing, infrastructure, personnel, recruiting, training, management strategies, and policies form this function.

By its nature, it is introspective and global in the organisational sense. Its focus will tend to be influenced by efficiencies rather than consumer experiences or effectiveness.

Although at ‘first blush’ the difference seems subtle, Service Management is quite significantly different from Service Delivery which is very extrospective.

Service delivery is a component of business that defines the interaction between providers and clients where the provider offers a service, whether that be information or a task, and the client either finds value or loses value as a result.

Good service delivery provides clients with an increase in value.

We are encouraged that Victoria Police have identified that it needs to apply more resources to Service Delivery. That function is relatively new; early signs are that the function is weighted heavily to Service Management instead of Service Delivery, as the functional title infers.

In this symbiotic partnership, however, the Service Delivery function must prioritise above Service Management, and the best way to describe this relationship is by way of examples.

  • Police Stations/complexes-

The telephone is an essential device to connect the Police to its community, a connection at the heart of good policing. In recent years the phone has been, in part, rendered redundant. It probably seemed sensible and saved valuable time absorbed in telephone reception functions. Service Management has spawned the development of the current practice of multi-choice options for callers. But when you apply Service Delivery, the following flaws become evident;

  • Callers will not know which is the correct option for them.
  • The call can bounce around an extensive complex sapping up resource time, frustrating the caller. When a connection is eventually found starts the interaction off negatively, a service delivery failure. Not to mention the resource waste in every bounce.
  • One of the options never included is the Officer In Charge, option a trait within the organisation that separates those responsible; from the functionaries and outputs of the organisation.

VicPol is providing, in this case, non-service. Therefore, Vicpol’s responsibility to ensure the Service is appropriate from the perspective of those who are being served, not the organisation. That is a failing of Service Management.

  • Police Headquarters

Believe it or not, but the main telephone administrative number for Victoria Police is no longer functional.

If you do not know who is responsible for your issue, your only option is the internet (if you have access), which leaves the public confused and not better off.

If you want to talk to somebody within headquarters or the Headquarters complex, good luck.

Recently a former executive member of VicPol wanted some very basic information and decided not to bother operational resources, 000, or 113444 with his simple request, so he tried to ring the Headquarters switchboard to find it no longer functions. After other futile attempts, he finished up speaking with a real person at Crime Stoppers.

His request was, what is the current title of what was called D24?

The answer given was, what is D24?

  • 113444

A senior manager of the 113444 operations advised us that the issue of people not knowing where to ring was not the responsibility of VicPol; if they want our Service, they are obliged to make sure they are ringing the right place; really?

We do not blame that Officer but the culture of Service Management that has lost sight of Service Delivery, a culture that must be changed.

  • Operational responses.

Did you know that if more than one person rings in to report an incident when the Operator asks whether you would like Police to follow up with you – it only takes one person to say no, and the ‘card’ is marked Police are not required to attend? And that is irrespective of what everybody else may request. So, if you have called the Police and said, ‘yes’ to see them, you may be waiting forever if somebody else says, ‘no’.

The card only has one option. Service Management again trumps Service Delivery.

By the way, do not expect a callback, either from the Operator or the police attending – there is no provision on the ‘Card’ for either. You can’t even get feedback on how; your card was marked.

For a service that relies heavily on community support to function correctly with near-daily requests for public help and demand for public compliance, it seems incongruous that the organisation with that essential reliance treats the public they want help from in the manner they do.

And this problem does not only beset VicPol. The mantle in this space is occupied by VicRoads who are operating at a level of Service Delivery that defies description it is that poor and illogical.

These operational approaches to Service Delivery are not the construct of VicPol but the product of misguided private corporations and the spawning of mammoth call centres (many offshore) as a supposed solution. It is easy to see how the management would be attracted to Service Management – internal efficiency at all costs.

Plenty of consultants will gladly fleece you and tell you how good you are for letting them ruin your organisation.

Poor quality Manager’s incapable of logical decision-making also feed this phenomenon. They are too frightened or cannot make a decision, so they get a consultant in to guide them. That’s called outsourcing management; why have that manager at all, is the efficiency question posed?

However, corporations are now on another path. They are moving towards ensuring customers or recipients of their service have easy access to face-to-face or real person contact experiences away from the previous trends that more often than not created false economies in resources and expenses.

They have realised that Service Delivery out trumps Service Management which regularly damages an organisation.

VicPol needs to be ahead of the game and make the move now.

Good service delivery is the cost of doing good business.