Child Support Agency: Telephone Services

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 15th May 2008.

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Photo of Danny Alexander Danny Alexander Liberal Democrat, Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many telephone calls to the Child Support Agency (a) were received and (b) received the engaged tone in each month since July 2005.

Photo of James Plaskitt James Plaskitt Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions

The administration of the Child Support Agency is the matter for the chief executive. He will write to the hon. member with the information requested.

Letter from Susan Park:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive. As the Chief Executive is currently on annual leave, I am responding, with his authority, on his behalf. You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many telephone calls to the Child Support Agency (a) were received and (b) received the engaged tone in each month since July 2005.

The number of telephone calls made to the Child Support Agency which received an engaged tone from July 2005 to March 2008 is included in the attached table.

Further information on the Agency's telephony performance is available in Table 16 of the Child Support Agency Quarterly Summary of Statistics, a copy of which can be found in the House of Commons library or on the internet at the following link:

www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/child_support/csa_quarterly_mar08.asp.

The Agency has shown significant and sustained improvement in telephony performance under the Operational Improvement Plan. In the year ending March 2008 the Agency received 5,369,000 calls from clients and answered 98% of calls available to be answered, with an average waiting time of twenty seconds, and with less than 1% of calls receiving an engaged tone.

Number of telephone calls made to the Child Support Agency (old system and new system) which received an engaged tone from July 2005 to March 2008
Month Client telephone calls Number of telephone calls which received an engaged/busy tone
2005
July 424,938 459
August 446,532 238
September 506,576 7,438
October 486,362 22,483
November 459,380 748
December 344,854 1,568
2006
January 478,522 1,937
February 433,721 276
March 488,739 1,168
April 381,253 649
May 439,567 11,353
June 445,730 17,570
July 428,291 6,976
August 412,352 2,024
September 446,578 3,476
October 450,290 2,019
November 440,177 3,408
December 329,109 494
2007
January 501,330 10,681
February 428,770 300
March 507,266 1,361
April 430,195 99
May 469,008 1,340
June 469,811 6,295
July 470,183 2,184
August 447,142 674
September 447,620 63
October 489,968 147
November 467,329 345
December 332,005 406
2008
January 515,566 772
February 470,003 2,127
March 445,518 266
Notes: 1. Information includes old system (CSCS) and new system (CS2) telephone calls. 2. The agency does not limit its system capacity to take calls and service providers have assured the agency of sufficient trunk capacity. Clients will only hear an engaged tone as the result of a technical fault usually at network level. Clients hearing an engaged tone will often redial immediately and unwittingly add to the problem. Certain months have seen a disproportionately high number of such incidents.

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