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Opening times at the Worcestershire Hub are cut
OPENING times of the Worcestershire Hub are to be cut by 14 hours a week to improve the service.
The move is not to cut costs, according to Worcestershire County Council, but to offer a better and faster service.
The changes will see the hub call lines open from Monday to Friday from 8am until 6pm, a two-hour reduction on the current opening time of 8pm, and Saturday from 9am to 1pm, another cut to the call centre hours, which is currently open until 5pm.
The new opening hours begin on Monday, April 1, but city councillor and former Worcester Mayor Aubrey Tarbuck thinks it’s no joke.
He said: “I am concerned. I would have thought for most people want to make complaints when they get home from work. I feel it is a retrograde step.
“I haven’t been enamoured with the customer service centre myself. When I have had to use them I have had a long wait and it’s been difficult.
“I was never happy with the waiting time to get a response but last time I used it myself I left a message and received a call back within a few hours.”
The new hours follow a review of customer demand in the contact centre, which highlighted call volumes between 6pm and 8pm during the week and after 1pm on Saturdays were not sufficient to justify the resource required to open the centre.
Rachel Hill, head of customer services for the Worcestershire Hub Shared Service, said: “To clarify, this is not a cost-saving measure but a decision that will enable us to use resource more effectively based on careful monitoring of customer demand.
“From April 1, the resource we currently use to open after 6pm in the week and after 1pm on Saturdays will be re-invested to support our peak times and offer a better, faster service to customers.”
In the past the hub has attracted criticism for long waiting times and unanswered calls.
In February your Worcester News reported the council call centre needed to cut £44,000 from its budget over the next year and in January new data revealed waiting times to the hub had almost tripled with 81,000 calls going unanswered in 2011.