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Norwich City Council (Read 50,216 times)
Ophiicus
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Norwich City Council
Jul 1st, 2008 at 12:54pm
 
In their infinate wisdom Norwich City Council now have one 0844 number for contacting them.  The old number does not work, but I suspect there are many direct dial numbers which can circumvent this problem.  Is there a mole within the Council who will spill the beans or does anyone know these numbers please?  I have contacted Dr. Ian Gibson MP (Norwich North) and would urge other Norwich residents to do the same thing, or contact Charles Clarke MP (Norwich South) if they are in his ward.  I have also lodged a complaint with the Council and am awaiting replies to both.
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« Last Edit: Jul 2nd, 2008 at 9:52am by Ophiicus »  
 
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Dave
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Re: Norwich City Council
Reply #1 - Jul 1st, 2008 at 1:31pm
 
I think this makes Norfolk officially the worst place to live for public services charging. Norfolk County Council proundly uses lots of 0844 numbers and Norfolk Police is happy to receive revenue payments from its 0845 number.


Source: Norfolk City Council

http://www.norwich.gov.uk/webapps/news/news.asp?cid=4908

One City, One Council - One telephone number!

<<
From July 1, Norwich City Council will have a new telephone number replacing the main seven numbers people call the council on.

The new number - 0844 980 3333 - will not cost the public any more to call from a landline and will be charged at 3p a minute.

The council, like other organisations who use 0844 and 0845 numbers, was given the option of charging more than the 3p minimum charge to make profit from the number. The council declined, feeling it was wrong to make money from delivering services to our customers.

Norwich City Council is following in the footsteps of many other organisations, including Norfolk County Council and Norfolk Police in introducing an 084 number. These numbers have a proven track record in helping organisations to improve the speed and efficiency of services delivered to customers.

[…]

“We have set the charge at 3p a minute - the minimum possible, and will not be making any profit out of the number. Calls from mobile phones can cost more than the standard 3p a minute on some tariffs, and it is disappointing to us that mobile phone companies set higher charges for these numbers.

“However, our customers can visit us in person at City Hall, access many of our services online or use the freephone at any of our area housing offices.”

[…]
>>

Norwich City Council knowingly imposes higher charges on those who cannot afford a landline. By selecting this number it is sanctioning the "disappointing" higher rates mobile providers charge.
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idb
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Re: Norwich City Council
Reply #2 - Jul 2nd, 2008 at 12:19am
 
Dave wrote on Jul 1st, 2008 at 1:31pm:
I think this makes Norfolk officially the worst place to live for public services charging. Norfolk County Council proundly uses lots of 0844 numbers and Norfolk Police is happy to receive revenue payments from its 0845 number.


Source: Norfolk City Council

http://www.norwich.gov.uk/webapps/news/news.asp?cid=4908

Quite staggering. I will make no further comment at this stage. A FOI request has been submitted, requesting the number that callers from overseas can use.

Clearly <<Norwich City Council: City Hall, St. Peter's Street, Norwich NR2 1NH. Telephone: +44 (0) 844 980 3333>> as shown on the link provided is of no use to me!
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trickyd
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Re: Norwich City Council
Reply #3 - Jul 12th, 2008 at 12:21pm
 
Reply I received- largely just the leaflet repeated! Why would use of 03 incur a cost?

Thank you for your recent enquiry.
From July 1, Norwich City Council replaced the main seven numbers people use to call the council. The new number - 0844 980 3333 - does not cost any more to call from a landline and will be charged at 3p a minute. The previous charge was 4p a minute and so calls will be cheaper. Charges from mobiles vary depending on the contract and provider.  
The council, like other organisations who use 0844 and 0845 numbers, was given the option of charging more than the 3p minimum charge to make a profit from the number. The council declined, feeling it was wrong to make money from delivering services to our customers.
Whilst customers with mobile telephones or contracts that provide free calls will not always benefit from the change in number, the council looked at the benefits the change would provide to all its customers before making its decision to implement the new number.
Customers can make use of any the six area offices that have a free internal telephone or they can use the free internal telephone in the Customer Contact Centre at City Hall. The availability and usage of phone boxes is in decline and therefore this free service offers help those with limited telephone access. Customers can also contact by email and access many of our services via the website  www.norwich.gov.uk.
We have taken into account Central Office of Information Guidance, and looked into the '03' number options, however this service would have incurred a cost to Norwich City Council which would ultimately have to be subsidised by the council tax. Our research and information from other organisations such Norfolk County Council and Norfolk Police show that 084 numbers have a proven track record in helping organisations to improve the speed and efficiency of services delivered to customers.
The change to one number means that calls are directed to the right people, with the right skills, first time - ensuring they are dealt with more efficiently and answered more quickly. It also means staff can be moved to particular call areas at peak times - allocating resources where they are needed most.
To test the technology, last year we carried out a trial of menu options on housing calls. The results showed clearly we were able to respond to more customer enquires more effectively.
The introduction of the new number has already shown we can offer a better, and more efficient service with reduced waiting times, an improved call success rate and therefore quicker access to a customer advisor who can help with your enquiries.
I trust this answers your enquiry if you would like any more information please do not hesitate to contact the Customer Contact Team.

Yours sincerely,


Rachel Hardy
Customer Services Team Leader
-------------------------------------------
Sent: 03 July 2008 03:47:25
To: Residents Service Team
Subject: New 0844 number

I would be pleased if you could refer this letter to the department that can answer queries about why an 0844 number has been introduced by the City Council.

I am extremely disappointed to see that the City Council has adopted an 0844 number.
1) While it is correct to say that the cost of 3p per minute is similar to what many providers charge for 01/02 calls during the day, this ignores the fact that people who have inclusive calls allowances still have to pay extra for these calls;
2) Has the council considered the cost of these calls from phone boxes, which is considerably more than to a geographical 01603 number?
3) The council has obviously considered the cost from mobiles and the attitude seems to be - tough! "The council regrets that mobile phone companies charge more" hardly helps- of course they charge more, because 0844 numbers (like 0845 and 0870) are designed to be revenue sharing. Calls from mobiles typically cost 20p a  minute or more to 0844 numbers- so will probably cost about £1 before you even get to speak to the right person! As with landlines, the inclusive minutes with mobile contracts (or "free" minutes if you top up a certain amount on pay as you go) do not include calls to 0844.
4) The fact that the council has set the cost at 3p per minute so as not to take any revenue share is not as magnanimous as it looks- it simply means the telecom provider is raking the cash in instead!
5) The most disadvantaged residents of the city are more likely to use phone boxes or mobiles rather than a landline so you are targeting them particularly to pay more.
6) Did the City Council consider the guidance from the Central Office of Information that discourages the sole use of 08 numbers for access to public services? If those who made the decision to use 08 were not aware of the COI guidance, that suggests gross incompetence. If they were aware of it, why was it disregarded>
7) The spiel that 08 numbers have a proven record of improving service seems as if it has been lifted straight from a telecom provider's sales pitch. The main point about 08 numbers was that they could route calls to different destinations around the country (or even abroad). This feature is not needed where all calls are being made to Norwich, or is the council planning to outsource and privatise some of its call handling?
8) Was the use of an 03 number considered and if not, why not? If this decision was based on advice from the council's telephony provider?
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evilmcwoo
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Re: Norwich City Council
Reply #4 - Jul 12th, 2008 at 3:44pm
 
My brother goes to uni in Norwich and these are several numbers we have used previously:

01603212832 gets through to business planning
01603213538 - property services
01603212237 - unknown direct number, unanswered
01603212949 - unknown direct number, unanswered
01603213456 - unknown direct number, unanswered
01603213474 - property services, electrical section
01603212237 - unknown direct number, unanswered
01603212582 - unknown direct number, unanswered
01603212057 - facilities
01603212888 - tenant services
01603212598 - accounts payable

01603 213 000 - Fax number

I will check them all again to find out where they go, Hope this has helped a lil bit.

I'm not a mole Smiley but i'd like to pass these on
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« Last Edit: Jul 12th, 2008 at 3:50pm by evilmcwoo »  
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Re: Norwich City Council
Reply #5 - Jul 13th, 2008 at 11:11am
 
I have discovered that The Chief Executive and their Assistant, Emma Bullen, can be reached on 01603 212001 so I suggest you call the CEO to give them your opinion on this decision and the disgraceful lies currently being used to justify their abusive 0844 phone number.

I found this number by the way just by making use of some of my unlimited 01/02 calls package and some basic deductive reason.  For instance the personal line of the Chief Executive of Mole Valley District Council is 01306 879101 while their main switchboard is on 01306 879100.

The CEO might also like to be directed to the excellent example of Mole Valley District Council, who unanimously passed a resolution in July 2005 that they would never use anything other than geographic phone numbers to provide council services.  See Motion 2/2005 (P.5 of the PDF) at www.molevalley.gov.uk/media/pdf/4/2/Council_Minutes_260405.pdf
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« Last Edit: Jul 13th, 2008 at 11:15am by NGMsGhost »  

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Re: Norwich City Council
Reply #6 - Jul 13th, 2008 at 11:20am
 
I see that Norfolk County Council also uses 0844 phone numbers for all contact with them and are using the same lies to try to justify them.

See www.norfolk.gov.uk/consumption/idcplg?IdcService=SS_GET_PAGE&ssDocName=NCC028647...

Is this just a coincidence or an indication of a general county wide signing up to pirate revenue sharing numbers to make use of council services. Shocked Angry Cry

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« Last Edit: Jul 13th, 2008 at 11:21am by NGMsGhost »  

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Re: Norwich City Council
Reply #7 - Jul 13th, 2008 at 11:44am
 
Those of you who are dissatisfied with the council's decision may also wish to raise it with the Labour councillors on the cabinet of this council who took this decision.

See www.norwich.gov.uk/webapps/atoz/service_page.asp?id=1566

Council Leader Steve Morphew's phone number is 01603 212267

The Executive Member for Residents and Customer Care is Julie Brociek-Coulton.  Her direct phone number is a mobile number - 07786 694325.  So it seems she really doesn't care about the high cost to residents of contacting the council.

Brian Morrey - Executive Member for Sustainable City Development on 01603 506694
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« Last Edit: Jul 14th, 2008 at 9:57pm by Dave »  

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Re: Norwich City Council
Reply #8 - Jul 14th, 2008 at 2:26pm
 
Courtesy of my unlimited 01/02 calls package I have now been able to discover rather a large number of geographic phone numbers for calling the Council that I have posted on this website.

The Chief Executive's secretary was still sticking to the line that calls only cost 3p per minute and "its the same as the cost of a local call" when I telephoned her this morning.  However she refused to connect me to the Chief Executive and instead put me through to the Head of the Contact Centre.  This person parroted the same nonsensical lies to try to justify the switch to 0844.

The Leader of The Council Councillor Steve Morphew (pictured on the website launching the 0844 number) and his other cabinet colleagues (or at least those in the Cabinet who list geographic phone numbers) were not available to take my calls when I attempted to contact them.

I see that at the bottom of every page on their website they list their phone number as +44 (0) 844 980 3333.  Has anyone told them that it is almost impossible to call an 0844 phone number from overseas?! Shocked Angry Cry
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Dave
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Re: Norwich City Council
Reply #9 - Jul 15th, 2008 at 9:01pm
 
01603 212998 goes to switchboard.
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Re: Norwich City Council
Reply #10 - Jul 15th, 2008 at 10:14pm
 
Dave wrote on Jul 15th, 2008 at 9:01pm:
01603 212998 goes to switchboard.


01603 412180 is the Out of Hours Emergency line (the number given on the switchboard Answerphone when it is closed).
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Re: Norwich City Council
Reply #11 - Jul 31st, 2008 at 2:16pm
 
I have tried ringing the alternative numbers, but no answer!. If you ring 01603212998 (switchboard), the system is set up to tell you that the switchboard is closed, and it provides an 'emergency' number. Of course, if you ring the 0844 number, the switchboard is open - at least in theory, after you have pressed about 4 different menu options!!
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Re: Norwich City Council
Reply #12 - Jul 31st, 2008 at 7:55pm
 
Here you go a number for Norwich Council and the correspondence that lead to it in reverse chronological order (ie go to the end and read upwards if you want the full drama rather than just the number:


Dear Sir,

As advised last week I passed your issues reagrding calling the 0844 number from abroad to my manager. She has now got back to me with further information. We have  been advised by our supplier that not all 084 numbers work from abroad and that it depends on the which country you are calling from and whether the number has been registered.

While the preferred option would be to contact us via email we accept this is not always possible.  So far, yours is the only feedback we have received on this issue, however as a result we will be monitoring the situation. In the meantime, if you do need to contact us from abroad you can use 01603 214125 which is will connect you to one of the Team Leaders within the Customer Contact Team.

Kind Regards
                        ---------------------------------

XXXX,

This is silly.

a) No 0844 number can be called from anywhere abroad so I don't know how you can make that statement. Please check with OFCOM if you have any doubt.

b) It is silly to say I should check with my telephone provider as I won't know who the telephone provider is as it will be different in each country, region or hotel. As you must know as you move around your mobile phone links up with a different provider from area to area and you will have absolutely no idea who that will be and if I use a public phone or hotel phone I will also have no idea who the provider is. How on earth can I check and even if I did what can I do about it.

This is a serious point. Any resident while abroad just can't contact you. What are we supposed to do?

                 -----------------------------------------


Thank you for your reply. Norwich City Councils telephone number has been tested and can be accessed from abroad. However certain service providers do put bars on 0844 numbers. Therefore if you wish to call Norwich City Council, and are finding you have problems, you would need to contact your service provider.

The 0844 number was introduced after thorough research and was decided to be the best option to allow the majority of Norwich City Council residents to contact the authority and receive an improved service in terms of call wait times and directing of the calls.

Yours Sincerely

          --------------------------------------


XXXX,

So how do I get hold of you if I have an issue to resolve when travelling? Like most people when travelling I only have a phone and don't have access to a computer and even if I did I would not be able to resolve something that needed a call or instant action.

It is surely ridiculous to stop people being able to contact you while they are away from home. I can't believe this is the case. There must be someway to make contact, particularly in an emergency. You can't just cut people off, what sort of service is that?

                  ----------------------------------------

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your email. Unfortunately, we cannot offer an alternative telephone number for you to dial from abroad. However you can access many of our services online at www.norwich.gov.uk

Yours Sincerely

                      -------------------------------------------

Hi,

You have introduce a new 0844 number for contacting the council. I travel a substantial amount of the time and the 0844 number is unobtainable outside of the UK. What number should I call from abroad.
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Ophiicus
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Re: Norwich City Council
Reply #13 - Jul 31st, 2008 at 8:42pm
 
It's like getting blood out of a stone isn't it?  I gave in with emailing after they comletely ignored what I had written and sent me a standard reply - twice - my second mail quoting my original email and asking for specific responses.
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Re: Norwich City Council
Reply #14 - Jul 31st, 2008 at 9:22pm
 
Hi there!

Why not badger the councillors at Norwich, and try and knock some sense into them?  Would they like to pay the 0844 rates?  I doubt it!

James Bond
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