Cornwall, UK, Nov 13, 2019 -- Councillors have recommended that more staff are employed by the Cornwall Council 's contact centre to improve response times - with some people having to wait more than half an hour to get a call answered.
A residents' satisfaction working group was set up by the council's customer and support services overview and scrutiny committee to see what could be done to help improve people's satisfaction with the council.
One area was the contact centre which takes all phone calls made to the council.
The group was told in July that for the year to date only 76.2% of calls to the contact centre were answered within five minutes. The target is 90%.
And the group was told that sometimes members of the public have had to wait half an hour for a response.
Councillors had been told that an automated telephone system had been introduced at the council along with a reduction in staff.
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However the automated system was removed "due to the high level of resident complaints" but the cut in staff was not addressed. This has led to the centre being in a "constant under-staffed state" which is made worse when staff are on leave, training or sick.
To try to address this the overview and scrutiny committee has recommended to the leader of the council that six extra full-time staff are considered in the next budget with an estimated cost of £142,000.
The recommendation adds that staffing levels should be kept under review as fewer will be needed as residents access more services online.
Scrutiny committee chairman Richard Buscombe urged council leader Julain German to consider the request saying: "That £142,000, when considered in the scheme of things, is not that much and would make a real difference."
The committee has also called for more improvements to be made to the council's website. Neil Burden said there was even a member of staff who had been "struggling to find something on our website".
Richard Pears said it was important for the council to get its website and contact centre right as it was the first port of call for many residents.
He said he had difficulty navigating it as a Cornwall councillor and had "no idea what button to press".
Councillors have also recommended that the council's branding guidelines are revisited and that the council does more to make clear to people what services it provides.
They suggested that services such as Cormac and Cornwall Housing should display more clearly that they are funded by Cornwall Council.
Cllr German said: "Listening to residents is a must and a priority and the council to be responsive to residents when required is absolutely essential.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
About Cornwall Council:
Cornwall Council (Cornish: Konsel Kernow) is the unitary authority for Cornwall, in England, United Kingdom. The council, and its predecessor Cornwall County Council, has a tradition of large groups of independents, having been controlled by independents in the 1970s and 1980s. As of the 2013 election, it is run by an Independent-Liberal Democrat coalition.
Published: Thursday, November 14, 2019
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