Auckland Council. Is it Enlightened?

Following comments about Auckland Council expenditure I rang the Call Centre, then sent an email to Dean Kimpton, Chief Operating Officer.

Hi Dean,
I was told office staff are not allowed to change light bulbs in Council offices and it costs about $300 to change a lightbulb.
I rang 3010101 and asked to speak to the person in charge of Office Protocol. I was told it was a team.
I was asked for my specific query and said it was changing a light bulb.
Initially I was told that was a health and safety matter.
Eventually I was told to lodge my query with enquiries at auckland council.

I gather from the Call Centre
1. A service request must be put in
2. This goes via computer
3. It goes to a designated contractor
4. Turnaround depends on “criticality” (a new word to me) of the event.

Could you please advise
1. Is the procedure outlined above correct?
2. What is the average cost of replacing a light bulb in a Council office?

Gary Osborne.

Here is his reply

Gary, thank you for your email.

We follow an entirely reasonable and simple two-step process for replacement of a faulty light bulb, that is :

– a service request is made
– a designated maintenance contractor completes the work

Of course, and as you note, time to replacement is a function of criticality. This allows us to bundle up light bulb replacement and other general maintenance activities in the most cost effective manner.

Not all light bulb replacements necessarily need to follow this process, but the vast majority certainly do as they are within corporate buildings, recreation facilities, pool venues etc. These are typically associated with elevated ceilings, challenging locations and typically within specialised fittings. It is not appropriate on health and safety grounds, or on a cost basis, for us to do it any other way than through maintenance personnel, who as noted, combine replacement activities with other maintenance while on location. This is no different to the approach taken by any other responsible and cost conscious employer. There are also some locations where light bulbs can be replaced locally, for example, community halls, community houses, desk lamps, or easily accessible fittings.

On the matter of cost, clearly this will vary according to the bulb type, fittings and location. Without doing detailed analysis the cost to replace will vary from a few dollars to maybe $300. The cost is determined by the value of the fittings and the bulb. The average labour component might be $20 to $30.


Not that it makes me feel any better but it seems similar approaches are adopted overseas. Consider the following from our Antipodes.
The Metropolitan Police spend up to £100 (NZ$193) every time a light bulb needs changing, figures have revealed.
The force has admitted paying the sum to a maintenance firm if a light bulb “urgently” needs replacing – in “non-urgent” cases a fee of £26 (NZ$50) is paid, but this is still many times the cost of a normal light bulb.
The figures were highlighted by Victoria Morgan, director of procurement at the Met Police, after they were requested by barrister Jessica Learmond-Criqui.
Ms Morgan was angered by the fact that the details emerged at a time when budgets are being cut and up to 65 police stations across London face closure.
A police source told the Sunday People: “In the current financial climate the thin blue line is being stretched even more tightly than ever.
“Across the public sector it’s very much a case of every penny counting, and surely we have to make sure we’ve got the best resources possible to catch criminals.
“While officers appreciate health and safety regulations and so forth are par for the course, it still seems a nonsense to pay £100 to change a light bulb – whether the situation is ‘urgent’ or otherwise.”
Budget cuts have seen the total number of police officers reach their lowest figures in over a decade, according to official figures published in January.
There were 128,351 police officers in the 43 police forces across England and Wales on 30 September 2013, the lowest number since September 2002.
Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, told the Sunday People: “It’s utterly crazy that the Met would even consider wasting so much money on changing a light bulb.
“This sounds like the punch line to a bad joke yet the bill to taxpayers is no laughing matter.
“Poorly negotiated contracts that result in inflated costs for ordinary tasks should be scrapped.”
A Met spokesman said the services were contracted out to maintenance firm Interserve.
He said the fee can vary depending on the bulb and the position of the lamp and that “health and safety and security” can also “impact on cost”.
– UK Independent
Is this the way of the future?

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1 Response to Auckland Council. Is it Enlightened?

  1. Lindsay says:

    Have you been to West wave pool? Its worse there, it took them 1 month to fix the door to the sauna!

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