Industry Research : City's Auditor General Blasts 311 Information System
Toronto's two-year-old 311 program isn't working according to the city's auditor general, who blasted the one-stop city service call centre for unacceptably high absenteeism and ineffective service delivery.
In his report to next week's audit committee, Jeffrey Griffiths said the call centre at Metro Hall doesn't even get to 21 per cent of its calls and just 35 per cent of calls are answered within 30 seconds.
For all that, the program is over-staffed, employing almost twice as many operators as Calgary and offering no better service.
The report singles out staff problems.
Staff only answer 52 calls a day, far below the management target of 80 calls. And absenteeism is high, with an average of 12 per cent of staff absent because of illness, ill dependents or non-scheduled days off. That, once again, is higher than other 311 services.
Griffiths acknowledged the 311 service in Toronto is relatively young compared to other cities and is still modifying its procedures. But he said management have to deal with call volumes better and bring down the absenteeism.
The report also recommends staffing be adjusted so more workers are on shift during times when call volumes are higher.
The program was established in 2009 as a way for Torontonians to easily get information and lodge complaints and request with various city divisions.
According to the report, between January and June 2011 the largest volume of complaints and requests went to solid waste management, with 51,926 calls. Most requests were complaints about missed collections.
Next was transportation, reporting road pot holes, then Toronto water with issues with water services being cut off, followed by property standards complaints to municipal licensing and standards and tree pruning requests to urban forestry.
Audit committee vice chair Mary-Margaret McMahon welcomed the recommendations.
"Even though it's a new department we're way behind other cities and that's not a good place to be," said the Beaches-East York councillor. "Its not just about saving money - it's about making the city work better."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, November 7, 2011