Public relations departments are the enemy of society; well yes a strong statement, but truth is held within these words I can assure you. Our local train company has a very active PR section, that keeps putting out supposed wise words about improved services, better facilities and yes greater access. The nature of a public relations department though is to spin the words so that the image of the organisation is seen favourably in the minds of the masses, so exaggeration and distortion can take hold.
This train company has been tweeting a lot recently in regards to the fact that they are part of the National assistence scheme and that they will support passengers to get where they need to go. Fine, a lauble and in many ways credible claim, but they will never announce on their twitter feed that they oversee and allow a level of ignorance and abuse to customers that can put many off travelling.
A scheme is only as good as the people that run it and on the whole, it does work okay. At leeds railway staton, for isntance, they have an excellent group of people who will do their best to make sure that your journey goes smoothly with the best of assistance. However, due to the attitude of one person within that team, I have partly stopped using the system because getting assistence is more hassle than its worth. Now I’m a confident traveller and can manage because I know the station inside out, but for those who don’t necessarily have that confidence, they could be put off travelling by such obstructive and appauling attitudes.
The ame can be applied to organisations who proudly announce that they provide information in a variety of formats for all customers. Yes, we can provide your inforamtion in audio and braille formats they proclaim, but the reality of the situation is far different. Along with the department of works and pensions, I could name many organisations, some of which should know better, in regards to the non provision of what they promise. Wether in support or in deamnd, they should realise that the focus of support is not on their needs but on the individuals and groups that they are serving and that the law does apply to them in terms of equal access of inforamtion and services. Sadly, there is a long way to go until they adhere to what they should and are lawfully obliged to do.
Therefore, if anybody is reading this from a public relations department, remember that spinning words may paint a good picture, but making actions work gives fuller and more wholesome image.