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Council’s call centre woes are ‘all in the past’

Posted on Jan 25 2011
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 The findings are due to be discussed by the district council’s executive committee meeting on Wednesday, in which officials cite the rate of people leaving and the amount staff are expected to know.

 
The district council’s call centre merged with the county council’s in November 2009 introducing a single ‘410410’ number for both authorities.
 
In a review of the year’s performance, head of customer and information services Susie Drummond recommends integrating the service further with Warwickshire County Council’s.
 
Figures show that only 50 per cent of calls are answered within 30 seconds, some way short of a target of 70 per cent and lower than a rate of just over 60 per cent shortly after the merger.
 
Some 15 per cent of callers hang up, more than double the target of seven per cent, with a peak of 25 per cent in April and 20 per cent in May.
 
The report blames “a higher than normal staff turnover and the inability to recruit a full complement of capable staff”.
 
Peaks in call volumes have also been created by bad weather, the General Election and a strike by refuse collection contractor Sita workers led to delays. Other problems include sickness, ‘competency’ and people taking better paid jobs elsewhere or moving internally to focus on their career.But the centre consistently meets one target of dealing with more than 86 per cent of enquiries at the first point of contact and the report cites savings in computer and administrative costs.
 
Cllr Les Caborn (Con, Lapworth) said other call centres paying higher wages attracted experienced staff, meaning the council had to train new staff.
 
But he added problems were “in the past”. He said: “Staff are operating in a somewhat different way and in a new environment but they are now very much working as one.
 
“It has taken a little longer to bed in than I would have hoped. In the past few months things have settled down. The feeling coming through is that we have good staff working there.”
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