I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on
HMRC can advise that, (a) for April 2012 the average total call time was 15 minutes 35 seconds and (b) the maximum total call time for a single call was two hours 35 minutes seven seconds.
For “total call time” HMRC has included the time spent:
in the IVR automated messaging system; waiting for a call to be answered by an adviser once a customer has selected an option from the call steering menu; and speaking to an adviser.
HMRC uses a variety of measures to assess the accessibility of telephone services which include the percentage of call attempts handled by its contact centres. In 2011-12, HMRC has significantly improved the number of call attempts handled to 74% (compared to 48% in the previous year) and aims to build on that improvement.