Callers to Wakefield Council waiting '30 - 40 minutes' for phone to be answered

Some members of the public are facing lengthy delays trying to get through to the council on the phone.
Some members of the public are facing lengthy delays trying to get through to the council on the phone.

Some members of the public are waiting up to 40 minutes for their phonecalls to Wakefield Council to be answered, it's been claimed.

Councillor Elaine Blezard said that lengthy delays on the phone were a common gripe among constituents.

Coun Blezard said that elected members were getting "lots of complaints" about the issue.

Coun Blezard said that elected members were getting "lots of complaints" about the issue.

A report put before the council's audit committee on Monday said that plans are in place to improve the authority's customer service arm, which it described as performing "adequately" at the moment.

And Lucinda Jackson, service manager for communications, customers and change, said that a "people's panel", made up of 1,000 local members of the public, is being set up to generate feedback on the council's day-to-day service.

But Coun Blezard, who represents Normanton, said: "Can I ask what the feedback is regarding the telephone system?

"As a ward councillor we're getting lots of complaints from people saying they're on the phone for 30 minutes, 40 minutes before someone answers.

"Are we rectifying that?"

In response, Ms Jackson said that calls were prioritised depending on their nature, with people ringing about issues like social care receiving quicker responses.

As a result, she said, those with more "routine" queries were having to wait longer, although some services can be accessed through the council's online MyAccount system.

She told councillors: "We do monitor customer contact on a daily basis, and as with any customer service centre there are peaks and troughs.

"It is one reason why we've created additional opportunities for people to do some of this themselves.

"So if it is a low-level routine request, they can easily self-service if they've got access to do that. Not everybody does have access to it which is why they may need to ring.

"We can't stop the peaks and troughs but we do manage them as best we can, and we're being as pro-active as we can."

Local Democracy Reporting Service