HL Deb 11 March 1959 vol 214 cc1113-6WA

asked Her Majesty's Government whether, in view of the success of the steps which are being taken towards full telephone automation, anything is being done to ensure that a satisfactory service is given on calls which are not dialled and on all other personal contacts between the public and the telephone service.


My Lords, I can do no better than inform you of a state-

tradiction: it is an argument. However, weak though we may be in this House, we have the right to record to-day our complete dissatisfaction with the type of answer given, and I shall therefore ask my colleagues to divide.

On Question, Whether the said Motion shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 20; Not-contents, 70.

ment made today in another place by my right honourable friend about a further step towards a better telephone service. He said:

"In this age of mechanisation we must never forget the importance of the human personal service. We have studied how other countries are tackling this problem. A report has been made to me by a joint team of Post Office officials and trade union representatives after a visit to the United States. They were unanimous in their conclusions and they made important and far reaching recommend- dations. Some will require further study; others are being acted on from today. All are set out in a foreword to the Report.

"I have placed a copy of the Report in the Library. In addition I have written every Member explaining our proposals and enclosing a copy of the Report.

"For the first time the aim and purpose of the Telephone service has been defined in writing. The essence of it is that we are determined to please as well as serve the customer. We are tackling three things immediately:—

"First: To find out what the customer really wishes we have set in train a series of methodical and regular surveys of public opinion. Then we shall try and meet those wishes.

"Second: Our rules for the telephonist have been rigid and the words we have told them to use have been stilted. The rules will be altered and amongst the alterations will be one that gives the telephonist greater freedom to help the customer and to be more friendly.

"Third: We are going to make special efforts to develop facilities desired by the customer and an organisation will be set up for that purpose.

"This is only the first instalment. Other action will follow later.

"All this constitutes a radical change in our attitude to the telephone service.

"I hope that when Members have studied my letter and the Report they will approve of what we are doing."

House adjourned at fourteen minutes past eleven o'clock.