Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting MG NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Hub’s wait times almost triple
3:00pm Wednesday 2nd January 2013 in News
WAITING times for callers trying to speak to someone at Worcestershire’s one-stop “hub” for council services have almost tripled, according to worrying new data.
Bosses at the Worcestershire Hub, who have been swamped with unprecedented demand in 2012, say callers have been stuck on the line for an average of 72 seconds before a response.
New figures reveal a large increase in waiting times for the second half of the year.
During 2010/11 waiting times were 22 seconds, and in 2011/12 it was 27 seconds, but in 2012 so far it has climbed steadily and June’s average was 50 seconds.
The September average was 72 seconds, the highest of the year, with 66,201 people attempting to get through.
The figures, which were discussed during a meeting of Worcestershire County Council’s budget scrutiny committee, come after it was revealed 81,000 calls went unanswered last year.
Rachel Hill, from the Worcestershire Hub Shared Service, said many of the problems were caused by six members of staff suddenly departing in September.
During a fiery debate politicians said they speak to people who “can’t get through at all.”
Councillor Paul Denham, deputy leader of the Labour group, said: “I’ve had residents speak to me to say they can’t get through at all, and when they finally manage it they are told ‘give us a contact number and someone will ring you back’, and it never happens.
“That really does leave them not satisfied.”
Councillor Geoff Williams added: “The staff work really hard but it does seem that they lack resources and support, at times, to do the job as they would wish.”
Ms Hill said they were trying to address staffing problems by using a new ‘talent pool’ system, where existing council staff were given a chance to transfer to the hub.
At the moment 47 people work there.