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Frustration over ‘abysmal’ council phone system

Councillors have aired frustration at their own authority’s phone system, which one councillor said was an “abysmal failure”.

There were calls for improvement at Broxtowe Borough Council’s call centre after councillors at a committee meeting said it was one of the most common issues raised by residents.

The call centre answered 69,335 calls in 2020/21 which was the lowest figure in recent years. By comparison, 2018/19 saw 79,800 calls answered by the authority.

Council papers stated that during 2020/21, the Customer Services
team “experienced system technical issues and a reduced resource capacity”.

A target of 73,000 calls has now been set for the period of 2022/23.

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Speaking of the targets, Councillor Philip Owen (Con) said during the meeting on February 10: “I don’t know whether you’re anticipating that as a result of the abysmal failure of the telephone system and the failure to answer calls that people just won’t bother to try and ring this council any more.

“I am sick and tired of receiving complaints.

“People are so fed up of not being able to get through to this council. We were assured last summer by the leader of the council that when the new system was installed, everything would be alright. Well, everything is not alright.

“It really is a shameful situation. I can’t justify it to residents when they complain to me.”

Councillor Jill Owen (Con) added: “I have said this before but I am going to say it again. We can give you a list of officers who when you dial their number, they answer straight away. We can give you a very much longer list of officers you can never get through to.”

A council officer said that the phone system has not yet been replaced, but will be “imminently”.

Councillor Shane Easom (Con) added: “It is probably my biggest issue now with residents. I have the same problem to try and get through.

“It is a frustration.”

Chair of the meeting Councillor Greg Marhsall (Lab) responded: “Your reflection is a real one. There have been cross-party frustrations at this.

“I accept that there is a problem with the phones, everyone accepts that. We are going to address it at the right time.”

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