NAO slams Whitehall over call centre failures

NAO slams Whitehall over call centre failures

More than 21 million calls unanswered

The poorest people in the UK are being ignored by the government after a new
report by the National Audit Office found that 21 million callers seeking advice
on unemployment and disability benefits failed to get through to new government
contact centres last year.

The findings were slammed by Edward Leigh, chairman of the Commons public
accounts committee, who said the number would have been ‘inconceivable’ for a
private-sector business.

More than three-quarters of these failed calls occurred in the disability and
carer service, where some 18.5 million calls from people seeking help with
disability living allowance and attendance allowance claims were never answered.

When they did get through, the average waiting time to speak to someone was
nearly two minutes, the NAO report said.

Auditors at the watchdog slammed the Department for Work and Pensions in
particular for the failure of its new computer system and its improperly trained
staff.
Furthermore, the NAO flagged up the fact that the department has 55 phone
numbers, including 30 different benefit help lines, The Guardian
reported.

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