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John Lewis Birmingham website, 2014Birmingham city council should be like a “John Lewis store where everything you need is under one roof and the service is brilliant”, chief executive Mark Rogers has stated.

[“‘We must aim for John Lewis quality of service’, says Birmingham council boss”, Paul Dale, The Chamberlain Files, 3 Oct 2014]

His comments appeared to suggest that what remains of local authority service provision will increasingly be based online or in one-stop-shop neighbourhood offices where multi-skilled staff can deal with a wide range of customer inquiries.

But his commitment that staff would “do the right thing every day first time” took a knock when a new study showed huge public discontent with the way the council deals with the public.

The survey showed that only 41 per cent of those quizzed felt that they had been helped when contacting the council call centre, and only 43 per cent were satisfied with the service they received.

Most people who live in Birmingham wouldn’t have a clue what Mr Rogers is talking about; they’re much more likely to do their shopping at Lidl or Aldi. Waitrose supermarkets are just like Sainsburys, but with higher prices. There is no John Lewis store in Birmingham, although one is due to open at the ‘Birmingham New Street Gateway’ in 2015. There are only 3 Waitrose shops in Birmingham proper (its recently-opened city centre store serves people who commute in from Worcestershire and Staffordshire).


Despite the John Lewis Partnership’s lack of historical links with Birmingham, one of its senior executives, Andy Street, was somehow appointed ‘chair‘ of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), the body tasked with ‘driving private sector growth’ using public money.


He is also Vice Chairman of Performances Birmingham Limited, which is responsible for running the city’s Symphony and Town Halls and he is a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group.

Mr Street has been in the news for his attack on France.

[“Boss of John Lewis forced to apologise for saying France is ‘finished’ because ‘nothing works’ as Parisians accuse him of jealousy”, Daily Mail, 3 Oct 2014]

Paris is often referred to as the most beautiful city in the world, but Mr Street described one of its main stations as the ‘squalor pit of Europe’.

‘You get on the Eurostar from something I can only describe as the squalor pit of Europe, Gare Du Nord, and you get off at a modern, forward-looking station [St Pancras],’ Mr Street told a conference in London.

He added: ‘I have never been to a country more ill at ease… nothing works and worse, nobody cares about it.’

If Mr Street thinks the Gare du Nord is the squalor pit of Europe, what does that make Birmingham New Street?


Written by beleben

October 3, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Posted in Birmingham, High speed rail

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