Doug Smith moved into Islington Council's complaints department about three years ago. "It's quite an expanding and growing area", he explains.
With fellow complaints officers Ivan Connolly and Margaret Palmer, 51-year old Doug deals with around 2,700 complaints about council services each year. Around 1,700 complainers ring in and up to 1,000 others write.
Complainers are sometimes incoherent with rage. "If they are very, very angry you have got to let them express what they are feeling for a couple of minutes, then it is my turn. I speak slowly and soothingly, repeating and underlining my points. It is easy to imagine some callers forgetting what they rang to complain about".
The number of complaints is increasing and Doug is pleased about this: "I think it's a very good thing". He says that it shows people's expectations of services are rising. Around one in fifty of Islington's adult population complains to Doug and his colleagues each year. "It's not enough", he says. "From complaints you can learn what's wrong with services".