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News : Concentrix to Run City of London Police Fraud Helpline
London, UK, Oct 20, 2015 -- US outsourcing firm Concentrix has been brought in by the City of London police to run the crisis-hit Action Fraud helpline despite mounting concerns over the company’s handling of a major government contract, The Independent can reveal.
The hotline for victims of fraud has been repeatedly criticised due to delays in taking calls and details of reported crimes being lost. Earlier this year the company which had run the helpline since its launch in 2009, Broadcasting Support Services (BSS), went bust after losing the contract.
Concentrix has been the centre of growing controversy in recent months after The Independent revealed the company was harassing people with speculative letters threatening action against them for tax credit fraud. And just last week the company was ruled out of the running to land a contract to collect court fines on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the City of London police said: "The Action Fraud call centre provider Broadcasting Support Services Ltd announced that they had gone into administration on 17 July this year. Following this announcement, on the 6 August 2015 the City of London Police agreed an interim contract with Concentrix Ltd, to ensure Action Fraud was able to continue to deliver the Action Fraud service. The interim contract with Concentrix will be in place until April 2016."
And a spokesperson for Concentrix commented: "IBM won the action fraud tender, with Concentrix as a known partner. As they were a known partner, Concentrix were able to step in at short notice and fulfil the running the action fraud helpline following the collapse of BSS. They are currently directly contracted to do this."
After BSS went into administration in July, callers to the helpline had to wait more than 15 minutes for their calls to be answered. Yet there is little sign of any improvement when it comes to reporting cases of fraud. Several calls made to the helpline by The Independent in the past two days have taken between 12 and 31 minutes to be answered.
"Currently calls have an average wait time of less than 10 minutes," according to a spokesperson for Concentrix. And a spokesperson for the City of London police commented: "Call waiting times will vary as fraud is a complex crime and there may have been instances where call waiting times increase because operators are taking particularly complex reports."
Responding to news of the contract, Roger Godsiff, Labour MP for Birmingham, Hall Green, said: "I’m not impressed that it’s gone to a private company, particularly Concentrix which has got a chequered record. They were under consideration by the government for being given the contract to collect court fines but the government backed off from doing that." He added: "The record of companies when it comes to outsourcing doesn’t inspire great confidence but the government is hell bent on outsourcing everything."
And Stephen Doughty, Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, said: "I have had significant concerns raised with me by a number of constituents regarding the activities of Concentrix resulting in them temporarily losing their tax credits with devastating consequences for them and their families."
He added: "It seems bizarre that a company that has so many questions about its operations is being awarded further contracts."
Martyn Underhill, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, who has criticised the performance of the anti-fraud helpline in the past, commented: "Whilst I am glad to see a new call handler provider in place, I am obviously concerned by some of the stories circulating about previous contracts. I will watch with interest to see how the service develops. The key here is for a reliable and prompt service for fraud victims, let’s hope it happens."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Concentrix, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SYNNEX Corporation (NYSE: SNX), is a business services company. We focus on customer engagement and improving business outcomes for over 450 global clients across six continents. Our 100,000+ staff deliver technology-infused, omni-channel customer experience management, marketing optimization, digital, consulting, analytics, and back office solutions in 40+ languages from 125+ delivery centers. We serve automotive; banking and financial services; insurance; healthcare; technology; consumer electronics; media and communications; retail and e-commerce; travel and transportation; and energy and public sector clients.
About City of London Police:
The City of London Police is the territorial police force responsible for law enforcement within the City of London, including the Middle and Inner Temples. The force responsible for law enforcement within the remainder of Greater London, outside of the City, is the Metropolitan Police Service, a separate organisation. The City of London, which is now primarily a financial business district with a small resident population but a large commuting workforce, is the historic core of London, and has an administrative history distinct from that of the rest of the metropolis, of which its separate police force is one manifestation.
Published: Wednesday, October 21, 2015