Residents abandon calls to Caerphilly council because of long waits to be answered

14/09/2018

More than 2,100 callers to Caerphilly Council’s headquarters have hung up over the last three years because their calls have gone unanswered.

A Freedom of Information request also revealed that the council does not have a target time for answering calls.

And inquiries by Councillor Colin Mann, leader of the Plaid Cymru group, has revealed that the council also does not have equipment in place to tell callers how many are in the queue and what the likely waiting time for an answer will be.

Councillor Colin Mann, who has raised the issue with politicians and officials, said: “While the number of calls abandoned is very small, it is not acceptable that some residents end up ringing off because of frustration. It does damage to the image of the council.  The public experience of dealing with the council  has deteriorated under Labour.

“As recently this month, I spoke to a local resident who, on three separate occasions, had waited for eight, 10 and 12 minutes on the phone without ever getting through. He was so frustrated that he ended up by phoning the Chief Executive’s Office on a direct line. 

“It is obviously very important that people at least know how long they are likely to wait and the council knows how long people have to wait, including those who do get through?”

He added: “The number of abandoned calls has almost doubled since 2015-16 and it is no coincidence that staff levels have been reduced over the same time, so it is a false economy.  This needs to be addressed by the Cabinet member and the Labour cabinet. 

“I’m pleased that the council is now planning to upgrade its telephone system so that callers will know their position in the queue and the expected waiting time. This is long overdue. I hope the council will be able to bring in six proposed new apprentices into customer services and help support the switchboard service which, after all, for many is the first impression people get of the authority.”