Harrow Council has quietly release details of the amount of time residents have to waste to get through to its call centre, Access Harrow.
The statistics show that callers can expect to wait well over half an hour to get to talk to someone who can help them – an in the worst case, fast approaching an hour.
The council will trumpet, proudly, that it is working to “channel shift” from telephone to web (thus excluding those in the borough that are partially sighted, unable to use computers, possibly unable to use a keyboard due to arthritis, don’t understand the complex flows of some of the council’s web forms, and so on) and yet the number of callers per month to Access Harrow is dropping only by single percentage points – and in three months out of the last 12, actually increased month on month.
Does it get any worse? Well, yes. typically one in ten callers will give up waiting for eternity for their call to be answered and hang up. Whether they get through when they call back, of course, isn’t clear. It’s also entirely possibly some residents never call back, and thus never get the help – perhaps life-saving help – that they might need.
Even the number of automated payments – another cack-handed scheme from Cockwood’s bunch, aimed to keep the council away from the riff-raff they’re supposed to serve – haven’t really improved over the last 12 months.
|Month||Calls Received||Automated Payments||% Answered||Average Speed to Answer (secs)||Maximum Call Wait|
It’s shabby. It’s outrageous. And it’s disgraceful that this council get away with providing such appalling service to the residents whom it is supposed to serve.
Source: FOI request 18.10.2016