Court Management call out an engineer to change batteries in a remote
17 January 2012
COURT chiefs called out an engineer on a 30-mile round trip simply to replace batteries in a remote control.
Astonished staff at Dundee Sheriff Court had to wait as the technician made the special trip from Forfar last week to swap the flat batteries for new ones.
Fixing the remote which controlled the courtroom’s air conditioning – took about 30 seconds, according to bemused legal insiders.
Setting aside the technician’s time and lost court time, the bizarre trip would have cost at least £15 in petrol and car wear-and-tear – all for £1 pair of batteries.
Staff claim they made the obvious suggestion of checking the batteries before the engineer was dispatched but say this was vetoed by management.
The Scottish Court Service today insisted the trip was necessary because the nature of the "fault" had to be "ascertained".
The Taxpayers' Alliance also criticised the court management for failing to check the batteries before calling out a specialist.
Chief Executive Matthew Elliott said: “It doesn’t take a genius to check if the batteries in the remote are flat before hauling in an engineer to fix the appliance. If managers had applied a bit of common sense in this case they could have avoided wasting time and taxpayers’ money.
“When savings need to be made bureaucrats can’t afford not to take simple, practical steps before spending taxpayers’ money on costly call outs.”
A Scottish Court Service spokeswoman said: “A report that there was an unidentified fault with ventilation equipment in the custody unit at the court in Dundee was logged with the external Facilities Management contractor, in accordance to procedure.
“The closest engineer was dispatched from Forfar to rectify the fault. It was ascertained at that point that a remote unit required replacement batteries. The travel and repair were covered under the overall Facilities Management contract, so there was no additional direct cost to public funds.
“There is no evidence whatsoever that the Scottish Court Service management vetoed a staff suggestion to change the remote’s batteries. The incident was reported as an unidentified fault. The engineer concerned was not despatched from Edinburgh but from Forfar.”
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