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Telephone Services

Volume 472: debated on Monday 3 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) which telephone contact centres are the responsibility of his Department; what mechanisms are in place to monitor their effectiveness; and how many people have been employed in each of those centres in each year since they were established; (166535)

(2) when he expects to answer Question 166535, on telephone contact centres, tabled on 15 November 2007 by the hon. Member for Falmouth and Camborne.

This Department does not operate a telephone contact centre as such; rather, there is a central Public Communications Unit (PCU) that deals with telephone inquiries, e-mails, written correspondence and public consultations.

In line with the Government’s response to Sir David Varney’s report on Service Transformation, the PCU is using information gathered against the performance management indicators published by The Citizen and Business Contact Centre Council (CBCCC) to monitor its effectiveness.

The PCU operates a flexible resourcing model, moving people between the various contact channels according to business need. It is not therefore possible to provide a figure for the number of people employed specifically on telephone contact work.

In addition to the PCU, DCSF also contracts with suppliers to provide telephone helpline services to the public, usually in support of information campaigns. These contracts cover the provision of data by the suppliers to enable the Department to ensure that the supplier is meeting the Key Performance Indicators set out in the contract. Additionally, the Department may run mystery shopping or user survey research to further monitor the performance of the contact centres. To provide information on the number of people employed by these suppliers on DCSF work would incur disproportionate cost.