News : Council Launches ‘Cheap and Easy’ Phoneline
Somerset, UK, March 26, 2015 -- Somerset County Council has launched a new phone number to make it easier and cheaper for residents to get in touch.
The ten separate 0845 numbers previously used have now been replaced with a single number for all telephone enquiries – 0300 123 2224.
This means people will no longer need to decide which 0845 number to ring and on average it will be cheaper to call. The 0300 number is charged at the same rate as numbers starting 01 and 02 and calls to it are automatically included with free mobile and landline call packages.
Council leader, Councillor John Osman, said: "While our website will answer many council-related questions nowadays, we still received a quarter of a million calls last year and the contact centre Somerset Direct remains a vital way for members of the public to contact us.
"I’m pleased we have been able to simplify this process by providing one easy to remember number for all enquiries – and I’m delighted this will also make it cheaper for people to call."
The vast majority of the 250,000 calls received last year covered the council’s business, ranging from libraries to street lights. Some of the most common calls included reporting highways issues like potholes or faulty street lights, requests for birth and marriage certificates, applying for blue badges, renewing library books, enrolling on courses with Somerset Skills and Learning, paying invoices and enquiries about parking.
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There were also a small number of more unusual requests which the authority was unable to help with, other than pointing the customer in the right direction. These included: "What size tin is required for the Mary Berry strawberry tart featured on the BBC’s Great British Bake Off?", "What are the rules and regulations for hosting a mouse race?", "How high is Mt Kilimanjaro?", "I’ve eaten an out of date pork pie – what should I do?", "Do you have a list of film times for the cinema?"
Councillor Osman added: "Our call handlers are well trained and as helpful as possible but they are there to help with enquiries about the support and services that we have to offer.
"So if you’re looking to report a pothole or to find out about school admissions, then 0300 123 2224 is the only number you need. If you have a more general question, then perhaps try phoning a friend instead."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Aims to give information about Somerset and its facilities, and to show some of the things to do and see around the county.
Published: Monday, March 30, 2015
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