Pirate FM News 4 minute read

Callers 'wait half an hour' to speak to Cornwall Council

Callers 'wait half an hour' to speak to Cornwall Council

Published by Emma Carton at 7:48am 13th November 2019. (Updated at 7:57am 13th November 2019)

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Richard Whitehouse

Councillors have recommended that more staff are employed by the Cornwall Council's contact centre to improve response times, with some people having to wait more than half an hour to get a call answered.

A residents' satisfaction working group was set up by the council's customer and support services overview and scrutiny committee to see what could be done to help improve people's satisfaction with the council.

One area was the contact centre which takes all phone calls made to the council.

The group was told in July that for the year to date only 76.2% of calls to the contact centre were answered within five minutes. The target is 90%.

And the group was told that sometimes members of the public have had to wait half an hour for a response.

Councillors had been told that an automated telephone system had been introduced at the council along with a reduction in staff.

However the automated system was removed “due to the high level of resident complaints” but the cut in staff was not addressed. 

This has led to the centre being in a “constant under-staffed state” which is made worse when staff are on leave, training or sick.

county hall cornwall council
It has emerged some callers are waiting more than half an hour to get through to Cornwall Council's contact centre


To try to address this the overview and scrutiny committee has recommended to the leader of the council that six extra full-time staff are considered in the next budget with an estimated cost of £142,000.

The recommendation adds that staffing levels should be kept under review as fewer will be needed as residents access more services online.

Scrutiny committee chairman Richard Buscombe urged council leader Julain German to consider the request saying: "That £142,000, when considered in the scheme of things, is not that much and would make a real difference".

The committee has also called for more improvements to be made to the council's website. 

Neil Burden said there was even a member of staff who had been "struggling to find something on our website".

Richard Pears said it was important for the council to get its website and contact centre right as it was the first port of call for many residents.

He said he had difficulty navigating it as a Cornwall councillor and had "no idea what button to press".

Councillors have also recommended that the council's branding guidelines are revisited and that the council does more to make clear to people what services it provides.

They suggested that services such as Cormac and Cornwall Housing should display more clearly that they are funded by Cornwall Council.

"Listening to residents is a must and a priority and the council to be responsive to residents when required is absolutely essential.

"That is all key to residents' satisfaction - that they know that they have been listened to and have a response.

"I very much welcome the work that has gone into this and I will certainly consider the recommendations".

Councillor Julian German

Cllr German said the funding request would have to go before the full Cabinet as part of the budget discussions. 

He said he would give a formal response to all of the recommendations when they go to Cabinet.

Contact Us

If you would like to submit a query or provide more information on this story please get in touch below.

Please wait...
  • Up to 3 JPG or PNG images, 2MB max size
  • We will always endeavour to credit you when we publish your pictures.
  • By uploading you are agreeing to this non-exclusive reuse, royalty-free, across all Pirate FM platforms, which extends to our partner broadcasters.
  • You retain copyright to all images.
  • If you would like to send us a video, please upload to YouTube or similar and paste the video URL into the message above.
Email Icon

Sign up for exclusive news, competitions and offers.
Proper Local News updates from Pirate FM

Suggested articles

Cornwall Council 'left in the dark' over local lockdown

Cornwall News: Leader Julian German say the government need to give clear guidance urgently

Cornwall Council lobbies Government for more funding

Cornwall News: The authority has been given £13.5million which can be handed out in discretionary grants to businesses which were not eligible for earlier funding provided by the government.

Newer articles

House made in Cornwall 'sinks' in River Thames

Cornwall News: It was created to raise awareness over rising sea levels

Big decisions on Cornwall's waste collections

Cornwall News: A new town on the edge of Truro's also up for debate

Older articles

Pensioner injured after 'deliberate hit-and-run' in Devon

Cornwall News: Police say an elderly man was dragged down the road

The sex offenders who live among us in Cornwall and Devon

Cornwall News: The number, monitored by agencies, is almost 2,000

Most read

Cornwall's police issue latest public warning to would be holiday makers

Cornwall News: See point 1.15 which states: “You are not permitted to stay overnight away from the place where you are living for a holiday or similar purpose.”

Two people involved in a crash on the A338 have died

Cornwall News: A minibus collided with a lorry at Launceston.

Pirate Extra Pirate 70s Escape LoveCornwall