To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the (a) average and (b) longest response time was to answer universal credit freephone numbers; and how many complaints about telephone response times for those numbers have been made in the last six months for which figures are available.
Universal Credit is a 24 hour, seven days a week, digital service that allows claimants to manage their own data and account online at a time which is convenient for them. Via their account, claimants can check their Universal Credit benefit payments, notify us of changes and record notes via an online journal facility. In addition, established claimants who call the Freephone Universal Credit helpline are connected directly to the person or team who are dealing with the case.
For June 2019 the average speed of answer for a call to the Universal Credit helpline was 2 minutes 39 seconds. The longest response time was 55 minutes 33 seconds. In June we answered 1.2 million calls. The longest response time refers to a single caller and is not reflective of the experience of the majority of our customers.
The average speed of answer measure is the average customer wait time from the point of entering a queue to connection to an agent. This excludes any time spent in pre-queue messaging and any wait time for calls ultimately abandoned by callers prior to answer.
The information requested about telephony complaints is not available in the format requested and doing so could only be provided at disproportionate cost. We do not capture data specifically on complaints about response times for answering the Universal Credit helpline.