Thursday 1 May 2003 2.14pm
Problems relating to Council Tax Hot Line:
I reply on behalf of Southwark Council
in relation to the problems many of you have been experiencing in contacting the service.
Firstly I would like to offer an apology and appreciate that this does not necessarily diffuse anger as a result of inefficient service provision.
However, I would like to offer an explanation and give some hope that we are committed to resolving these issues.
The Call Centre receives on average 25,000 calls per month this can be exceeded during particularly busy periods. A significant amount of mail was issued last week which resulted in an increase in demand for personal contact, ie. phone calls, visits to One Stop Shops. Although the Call Centre was staffed at maximum capacity this still resulted in a high percentage of abandoned calls, for which I unreservedly apologise.
I am working with our contractor to ensure that where possible recovery notices are staggered to prevent this surge in calls over an intense period. Please note that demand has now reduced since the initial problems were identified.
The other issue is the Payment hotline, as a Council we are undertaking a review of our cashiers service and confirm that problems in relation to payment by credit card over the phone will be resolved.
Assistant Director Revenues & Benefits