Departmental Telephone Services

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 11th November 2009.

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Photo of Francis Maude Francis Maude Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether an assessment has been made of the level of failure demand in call centres run by her Department and each of its agencies.

Photo of Jim Knight Jim Knight Minister of State (the South West), Regional Affairs, Minister of State (the South West), Department for Work and Pensions, Minister of State (Regional Affairs) (South West), The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

The Department makes regular assessments of the levels of avoidable contact, most recently through a survey conducted in February 2009. Results from the survey are shown in the following table.

Million per year
Total calls received Avoidable calls received
Jobcentre Plus 57.0 23.1
Pension Disability and Carer Service 19.3 5.3
Debt Management 1.2 0.24
DWP 77.5 28.7

1. Annual volumes are based on extrapolation from a sample survey taken in February 2009.

2. Figures exclude calls to Jobcentres as these are not run as call centres.

3. Avoidable contact is "contact that adds no value to the outcome. It includes contact that is nugatory, duplicative or caused by failures in business processes." Avoidable contacts can include wrong numbers, progress chasing calls and calls for clarification.

In line with the recommendations of Sir David Varney's report, Service Transformation, DWP has plans to reduce levels of avoidable contact by 50 per cent. by April 2011.

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