Departmental Telephone Services

Children, Schools and Families written question – answered on 6th April 2010.

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Photo of Stewart Jackson Stewart Jackson Shadow Minister (Communities and Local Government)

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the (a) average time taken to answer a call, (b) average waiting time for members of the public during a call, (c) percentage of calls dropped or not answered and (d) average length of calls was in call centres run by the Child Support Agency and its successor body in the latest period for which figures are available.

Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)

I have been asked to reply.

The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have asked the Child Maintenance Commissioner to write to the hon. Member with the information requested and I have seen the response.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 6 April 2010:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Child Maintenance Commissioner.

You asked the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, what the (a) average time to answer a call, (b) average waiting time for members of the public during a call, (c) percentage of calls dropped or not answered and (d) average length of calls was in call centres run by the Child Support Agency and its successor body in the latest period for which figures are available.

The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (the Commission) took over responsibility for the Child Support Agency (CSA) on 1 November 2008.

In the period April 2009 to December 2009, (a) the average time to answer telephone calls was 7 seconds, (b) The average waiting time a client is kept on hold during a call was 9 seconds, (c) 0.25 per cent of calls were not answered from the queue of waiting callers. In addition, 6 per cent did not reach the queue as they were terminated by the client during the automated touchtone routing to the most appropriate queue, (d) The average handling time (from the moment a telephone calf is answered to the end of the call) was 5 minutes and 2 seconds.

As well as the CSA the Commission provides an information and support service to separated families known as Child Maintenance Options. If you would like details of call handling by this service please let me know.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

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