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Call volumes, waiting times, call durations and staffing levels for DWP phone lines

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

In the last month I have spent over 30 minutes on hold to the DWP debt management line on 6 separate occasions - for an issue that was dealt with in less than 10 minutes.

As a result, I am writing to request the following:

For as long as you have retained records I would like a detailed breakdown of: the number of incoming calls split into as small a time unit as is reasonable (hourly would be ideal), the average time on hold, the average call duration, and the number of calls lost without being answered.

In addition, I would like to understand more about staffing levels and any targets (official or otherwise) that are used as a guide for staff planners.

Specifically; the number of agents on duty for the same time units as call volume above, the average percentage of agents off work , the departments estimates of expected call rates and their proposed staffing levels. In terms of targets, I'd like to understand what guidelines are given to staff as regards how many calls they are expected to handle in a given shift and the expected average call duration.

Finally, I would like the department to clarify that it is not policy (official or otherwise) to use long hold times to reduce call volume and costs. Given that DWP decides repayment rates; simply ignoring people could be an effective way to increase department efficiency.

To be clear, I am aware that I am requesting a very large amount of information. I am also aware that the vast majority of it can be exported into a spreadsheet directly from your call management system; I am perfectly happy with whatever data format is easiest.

Yours faithfully,

Ben Kwaan

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

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