MPs and members of the public have demanded that civil servants stop blaming working from home and the Covid pandemic for poor service. MailOnline has more.
Those ringing Government phone lines are waiting on hold for as long as two hours at a time to speak to someone who can help them with basic requests.
One NHS radiographer had to take four days of annual leave and spend a combined 20 hours on hold to confirm that his payment to HM Revenue and Customs had been received.
A Daily Mail audit of 38 official phone lines, carried out over two days, found long wait times, baffling menus and broken systems were the norm.
We had to wait for up to 54 minutes or were simply cut off, directed online and forced to use paid-for lines costing around 23p a minute from a BT pay-as-you-go landline. Some departments buried their contact numbers on their websites.
Four organisations contacted by the Daily Mail, used by families and small businesses, blamed Covid or working from home (WFH) for long wait times and poor service. The civil service has faced accusations that working from home is still hitting productivity four months after ministers ordered staff back to their offices.
Last night Tory MPs said it was “outrageous” that millions pay tax but get “nothing in return”.
Bereaved families said they had to wait on the phone to the Probate Office for as long as an hour, while staff are taking four weeks to read emails. A Mail reporter waited 54 minutes on hold last week, which would cost £12.33 from a BT landline.
The Office of the Public Guardian, which manages powers of attorney, told customers WFH “is impacting our response times” and said they should “wait at least 20 weeks before contacting us”.
A Mail reporter took 48 minutes to get through, costing £11.19.
Some people don’t want the lockdown perks – and excuses – to end.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: Perhaps Whitehall staff are too busy pushing the latest fashionable woke causes to provide a decent service to the public. The Telegraph reports that the Civil Service now recognises dozens of genders and one mandarin was told in his performance review to spend 5% of his corporate working time in a “non-binary network” with a suggestion he attend a “gender non-conforming book club”. Other initiatives include:
- A World Afro Day to raise the problem of “hair bias against Afro hair”.
- A ban on the use of the word “crazy” because of the offence to those with mental health problems.
- Advice to no longer use terms such as mother, father and ladies and gentlemen in documents and emails.
- A Trans Day of Remembrance for victims of transgender violence and a Transgender Day of Visibility to celebrate being transgender.
- A Bi-visibility day to raise awareness of “bisexual and biromantic erasure”.