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Leeds City Council - Motion to scrap 0845 numbers (Read 21,017 times)
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Leeds City Council - Motion to scrap 0845 numbers
Apr 22nd, 2008 at 7:45pm
 
Leeds City Council
Wednesday, 16th January, 2008 1.30 pm

http://www.leeds.gov.uk/moderngov/ieListDocuments.asp?CId=111&MeetingId=2994

<<
73. White Paper Motion - "Contact Leeds" Call Numbers

This Council condemns the ruling Conservative / Lib Dem administration’s use of 0845 numbers at their flagship Contact Centre, “Contact Leeds”.

This Council demands that the Administration immediately scrap these 0845 numbers. Furthermore this council calls for the Chief Executive to immediately examine the effectiveness of the contact centre and report back to the next meeting of the Executive Board.

This Council recognises the dedication and hard work of all its staff who work at “Contact Leeds” and holds the administration totally responsible for the faults of the contact centre and not the staff


K WAKEFIELD


Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Wakefield seconded by Councillor A McKenna

That this Council condemns the ruling Conservative / Lib Dem administration’s use of 0845 numbers at their flagship Contact Centre, “Contact Leeds”.

This Council demands that the Administration immediately scrap these 0845 numbers. Furthermore this council calls for the Chief Executive to immediately examine the effectiveness of the contact centre and report back to the next meeting of the Executive Board.

This Council recognises the dedication and hard work of all its staff who work at “Contact Leeds” and holds the administration totally responsible for the faults of the contact centre and not the staff.

An amendment was moved by Councillor Brett seconded by Councillor Golton

Delete all after ‘This Council’ and replace with

“congratulates staff working at the Council’s flagship contact centre, ‘Contact Leeds’ and notes the greatly increased performance in answering telephone calls from the public over the last three years.

In particular Council notes that :-

    * at the beginning of 2004 only 38% of telephone calls from members of the public to the Council were answered, but that the latest figures for the last three months of 2007 show that over 95% were answered;
    * that the contact centre has been awarded
         o European Contact Centre of the Year Awards 2006 – runner up in Environment category;
         o Yorkshire & Humberside Contact Centre Awards 2007 – Innovation category (for the Academy);
         o Communications in Business Awards 2006 – Call Centre Project of the Year;
    * that the use of the 0845 number has been kept under review for over 12 months, awaiting a decision by OFTEL and the telecommunications companies on the introduction of new ‘03’ numbers which will address issues of different charging policies for 0845 numbers from different companies;
    * that alternative 0113 numbers are available for members of the public to contact the Council’s Call Centre if they do not wish to use 0845 numbers.

Council welcomes moves to adopt a new ‘Golden Number’ in 2008 which should further improve the ability of members of the public to contact the Council.

The amendment was carried and upon being put  as the substantive motion it was

RESOLVED – That this Council congratulates staff working at the Council’s flagship contact centre, ‘Contact Leeds’ and notes the greatly increased performance in answering telephone calls from the public over the last three years.

In particular Council notes that :-

    * at the beginning of 2004 only 38% of telephone calls from members of the public to the Council were answered, but that the latest figures for the last three months of 2007 show that over 95% were answered;
    * that the contact centre has been awarded
         o European Contact Centre of the Year Awards 2006 – runner up in Environment category;
         o Yorkshire & Humberside Contact Centre Awards 2007 – Innovation category (for the Academy);
         o Communications in Business Awards 2006 – Call Centre Project of the Year;
    * that the use of the 0845 number has been kept under review for over 12 months, awaiting a decision by OFTEL and the telecommunications companies on the introduction of new ‘03’ numbers which will address issues of different charging policies for 0845 numbers from different companies;
    * that alternative 0113 numbers are available for members of the public to contact the Council’s Call Centre if they do not wish to use 0845 numbers.

Council welcomes moves to adopt a new ‘Golden Number’ in 2008 which should further improve the ability of members of the public to contact the Council.

>>
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« Last Edit: Apr 22nd, 2008 at 10:47pm by Dave »  
 
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Re: Leeds City Council - Motion to scrap 0845 numb
Reply #1 - Apr 22nd, 2008 at 9:22pm
 
Lord Citrine (who wrote the definitive guide "A. B. C. of Chairmanship) must be turning in his grave. To allow an amendment that defeats the original motion is just downright bad chairmanship. Those who don't agree with the motion do have the option of voting against it.
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Re: Leeds City Council - Motion to scrap 0845 numb
Reply #2 - Apr 22nd, 2008 at 10:39pm
 
Quote:
In particular Council notes that :-
[…]
    * that the use of the 0845 number has been kept under review for over 12 months, awaiting a decision by OFTEL and the telecommunications companies on the introduction of new ‘03’ numbers which will address issues of different charging policies for 0845 numbers from different companies;
[…]

Quite clearly those who amended it are either out of touch as OFTEL hasn't been the regulator since 2003; or they have cleverly amended this and we are still awaiting OFTEL's "decision"?  Roll Eyes
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« Last Edit: Apr 22nd, 2008 at 10:47pm by Dave »  
 
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Re: Leeds City Council - Motion to scrap 0845 numb
Reply #3 - Apr 23rd, 2008 at 2:08pm
 
It seems the councillors on Mole Valley District Council in Dorking must have more common sense than Leeds given that in the motion at their July 2005 full council meeting they unanimously voted to not use 084 and 087 prefixed numbers for council services.

Of course it helped that only one 0845 number had been so far set up on an ad-hoc basis by the IT manager (and not with the blessing of any council committee) for a trial of the new wheelie bin scheme and that it was one with no long term contract.  It was fortunately a not big expensive switchboard type contract with lots of penalties for cancelling and that anyone was going to get egg on their face about having to explain their earlier actions on.

Even so a lot of councillors were initially sceptical there was anything wrong with 0845 when the matter was first raised but when they had all the problems properly explained to them by one of their more knowledgeable councillor colleagues they all unanimously came on board (all three parties - Conservatives, Lib Dems and Independents)

Can we asssume that they have less sensible councillors in Leeds or did this councillor not approach the matter in the correct way by putting it forward as a party political attack on the aministration rather than referring to the COI Contact Centre Guidance and expressing the motion in terms of making sure that the COI guidance was complied with and that there should be no barriers to accessing the council's services in terms of not being able to afford the costs of the phone call.

I always thought that Yorkshire was a land of plain speaking but it seems this is no longer the case. Shocked Angry Cry

Perhaps I need to email the councillors involved to point them to the more successful opposition to the use of these numbers that took place on Mole Valley District Council.
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Re: Leeds City Council
Reply #4 - Apr 29th, 2008 at 8:23pm
 
Leeds City Council now publicises the 0113 alternative numbers to its 0845 ones. There are frequently asked questions which also says it receives 0.5 pence per minute during the day.

This contact gives numbers for different departments and where 0845s are shown, it gives the 0113s alongside. All these numbers are now in our database.
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Re: Leeds City Council
Reply #5 - Apr 30th, 2008 at 6:05pm
 
Dave wrote on Apr 29th, 2008 at 8:23pm:
Leeds City Council now publicises the 0113 alternative numbers to its 0845 ones. There are frequently asked questions which also says it receives 0.5 pence per minute during the day.


It seems the motion has been effective after all, if not in a direct way.

I would suggest the councillors responsible for this motion now take the matter to the local newspapers for further discussion.
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Contact centre callers still paying over the odds
Reply #6 - May 1st, 2008 at 8:38am
 
Source: Labour in Leeds

http://www.labouronline.org/wibs/168841/news?PageId=6ac863d0-b2aa-68f4-c9bd-437b...

<<
Contact centre callers still paying over the odds, reveals Labour leader

Leeds Labour Group leader Cllr Keith Wakefield has today condemned the Tory-LibDem Coalition in control of the Council for making a profit from calls made to their flagship call centre, “Contact Leeds”.

In a white paper discussed at a full meeting of Council, Cllr Wakefield slamed the Coalition’s continued use of 0845 numbers at the contact centre and demand they be scrapped as soon as possible.

In addition to the profit the administration made, people who call 0845 numbers from landlines and mobile phones can face very high charges of up to 50p a minute.

Cllr Wakefield also revealed that following an investigation by the Labour Group it was discovered that 26% of calls to the contact centre are chase up’s to previous inquiries, meaning that the potential cost to Leeds residents could be significantly more than was previously thought.

Councillor Keith Wakefield (Leader of Leeds Labour Group) said: “It is an absolute disgrace that these expensive 0845 numbers are still being used by the Tory-LibDem Coalition at the contact centre and that they are profiting to the tune of thousands of pounds.

“One call on a 0845 number from a non BT Landline is dear enough, but ringing from a mobile is even worse with residents being hit by charges of up to 50p a minute. And what is worse is that these charges are hitting residents even more than we thought, given our recent discovery that 26% of calls to the contact centre are in-fact chase-up’s to previous inquires.

“The Coalition owes the hard working people of Leeds who are paying the Council every time they call them up an apology for their continued mismanagement of the contact centre. The 0845 debacle, coupled with their failure to deliver on their promise of a ‘golden number’ or a 24-hour, seven days a week operation is a shambles, which need to be investigated as soon as possible.”


Councillor Andrea McKenna (Labour Group People’s Champion) said: "I have been out and about talking to people about the call centre and I was horrified to find that 84% of people had never even heard of Contact Leeds.  Even worse was that the same number had no idea how much it cost to call a 0845 number and some even thought it was free.

“I wasn't surprised however, to discover that every single person I spoke to thought it was wrong for the Administration to make a profit from these calls, I hope that these figures give the Administration cause for concern and that they abandon 0845 numbers right now.”


In the Leeds Liberal Democrat’s Fairer, Cleaner, Safer City manifesto for Leeds they said: “We would commit the Council to providing a single number call centre operation, 24 hours, seven days a week to ensure that council services are delivered in a more responsive, efficient way.”

The Labour group asked the Coalition over a year ago that the 0845 numbers be removed and that a cheaper alternative be found.
>>
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Re: Leeds City Council - Motion to scrap 0845 numb
Reply #7 - Aug 11th, 2008 at 3:41am
 
Having moved to 0845, Leeds City Council is now moving back to conventional geographical numbers.

Report of the Assistant Chief Executive (Planning, Policy and Improvement)
Executive Board
Date: 16 April 2008
Subject: Numbering Strategy and Golden Number

<<
2.0 Background Information

2.1 Stage 1 of the Customer Strategy Delivery Programme entailed the development of a Corporate Contact Centre for Leeds City Council and the migration of existing ‘call centres’ into the new centre. This was completed successfully, on time and within budget by March 2006.

2.2 As part of this phase, a telephone numbering strategy for the Council was developed and implemented, based on the introduction of 0845 numbers. This strategy enabled easier access to our services, by providing a series of connected and easily recognisable numbers and, allowed the routing of calls more effectively, making it possible for callers to get through to the right person first time and, get their enquiry dealt with in the most efficient way. It also provided location independence, improved call routing functionality, disaster recovery and business continuity, online management and reporting of inbound services which, at that time, couldn’t be achieved with the traditional 0113 numbers.

2.3 The first of the 0845 ‘silver’ numbers were introduced for some of the services which had migrated to the Corporate Contact Centre and launched to coincide with the official opening in March 2006.

[…]

2.5 However, following the introduction of these 0845 ‘silver’ numbers, a small number of complaints were received from customers because some telecom providers charge more for making 0845 calls than local calls (although BT charge less) and some do not include 0845 numbers as part of any inclusive minutes or discount packages.

[…]

2.8 In July 2006, Ofcom announced it would be introducing new UK-wide 03 numbers to increase certainty, trust and confidence in the numbers that consumers use to call public services, voluntary organisations and companies who want a national presence. It said that the 03 number range would be for the exclusive use of public bodies and other not-for-profit organisations and, it was anticipated that 03 numbers would be available by the end of 2007.

2.9 In view of this pronouncement and, the adverse reaction of a very small minority of customers, it was decided to stop the introduction of any further 0845 numbers, including the ‘golden number’ to allow a fundamental review of the numbering strategy, when details of the 03 numbers and strategy were made clear by Ofcom.

2.10 Ofcom have now published details on how new UK-wide 03 numbers will be implemented and, the options for a new numbering strategy and ‘golden number’ are detailed in this report.

3.0 Numbering Strategy - Our Options

3.1 The following options are available for the development of a numbering strategy.

3.2 0113
Until recently, geographic numbers were not resilient, in that they were linked to a specific telephone exchange and, if that exchange failed, or the lines to which the number was delivered failed, then calls were lost. This meant that for normal 0113 numbers, disaster recovery and resilience across the Affiniti network was restricted to the Leeds exchange. If there was an emergency incident in the city centre which affected the Corporate Contact Centre, it would only have been possible to divert calls to an alternative location on the same telephone exchange.

However, technological developments now make it now possible to deploy specific 0113 geographic numbers on an Intelligent Network platform and provide location independence, subject to an additional cost to provide this flexibility.

[…]

5.0 Numbering Strategy – The Proposal

5.1 The above issues lead to a conclusion that the most appropriate option for our future numbering strategy should be the adoption of the 0113 prefix, particularly as these numbers are more resilient following recent technological developments and the fact that 0113 is already the widely recognised prefix for Leeds.

[…]

8.0 Legal and Resource Implications

8.1 For calls made by customers to the new Leeds City Council 0113 numbers, we will be charged 1.5p per minute. This charge includes the cost of deploying these specific geographic numbers on an Intelligent Network platform, to provide location independence and greater resilience. The Corporate Contact Centre handles approximately 1 million calls per year (excluding ALMO calls), at an average duration of 3 minutes per call. Therefore, the estimated cost to Contact Leeds of using 0113 numbers for the numbering strategy is £45,000 per year. This is higher than the current cost of using 0845 numbers, however, additional costs will be contained within existing budgetary provision. It is also substantially lower than the costs we would incur through providing a range of 0800 freephone numbers.

[…]

9.0 Recommendations

9.1 Members of Executive Board are recommended to adopt the 0113 prefix as Leeds City Council’s telephone numbering strategy.
>>
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Re: Leeds City Council - Motion to scrap 0845 numb
Reply #8 - Aug 11th, 2008 at 3:42am
 
Agenda and Minutes
Executive BoardWednesday, 14th May, 2008 1.00 pm

<<
232. Numbering Strategy and Golden Number (The report referred to and quoted above)

To consider the report of the Assistant Chief Executive (Planning, Policy and Improvement) seeking approval for the development of a new telephone numbering strategy and providing an update on the development of a ‘golden number’ for customers accessing principal Council services by means of the Corporate Contact Centre.

Minutes:

The Assistant Chief Executive (Planning, Policy and Improvement) submitted a report seeking approval for the development of a new telephone numbering strategy and providing an update on the development of a ‘golden number’ for customers accessing principal Council services by means of the Corporate Contact Centre.

RESOLVED –

(a)       That the 0113 prefix as Leeds City Council’s telephone numbering strategy be adopted.
(b)       That the Assistant Chief Executive (Planning, Policy and Improvement) be authorised to take steps to implement the telephone numbering strategy and introduce a range of ‘silver’ telephone numbers for principal Council services, making it possible for customers to get through to the right person first time and, a ‘golden’ number to enable easier access to Council services.
>>
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« Last Edit: Aug 13th, 2008 at 7:00pm by Dave »  
 
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Re: Leeds City Council - Motion to scrap 0845 numb
Reply #9 - Aug 11th, 2008 at 4:58am
 
Interesting.  It seems that the penny is finally beginning to drop in some quarters.  However I still feel they could have got a cheaper deal than the one they have been given on their new 0113 IN arrangements had they had the assistance of forum IN expert Tanllan. Wink

How long I wonder till we hear that Norwich City Council are reverting back to 01603 numbers.............
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