Chapter 10: Partners
152. In establishing a contact centre consideration should be given to how it will affect stakeholders.
153. We were advised that meetings were held with some criminal justice partners during the set up of the Enquiry Point to advise them of its existence and to gain an understanding of their needs in relation to such a service.
154. Further talks took place with criminal justice partners (Police and Bar Association) local to Argyll and Clyde in 2010/11 relating to developments at the Enquiry Point, for example, extending hours, pleas hotline, etc.
155. The Enquiry Point should be the first point of contact for partners and agencies although we were advised that some, particularly Sheriff Clerks and Police, generally use direct dial numbers and email which would be their preference anyway due to the need for frequent contact. It is within guidelines that direct numbers can be given out and as described earlier some staff do add their own direct dial number to letters.
156. The Enquiry Point carried out a customer satisfaction survey in 2012 and partner agencies may be captured during random questioning. However, the type of caller is not recorded for this purpose therefore we were unable to ascertain views from partners from this exercise.
157. In the hope to capture views from partner agencies we carried out our own feedback survey. A questionnaire was issued to a selection of Police offices, Prisons, Bar Associations, Public Defenders, Children's Reporters and Victim Support. We received replies from representatives from Police, Solicitors and Victim Support. They were asked to rate their satisfaction27 with certain conditions and the following results (shown as satisfied or above) were found:
- 28% - 'time taken to answer the call'
- 12% - 'time spent on hold'
- 32% - 'total duration of call'
- 68% - 'professionalism of Enquiry Point operator'
- 72% - 'clarity of information provided'
- 68% - 'call was dealt with accurately'
- 64% - 'call was dealt with completely'
- 30% - 'follow up action took place'
158. It is clear that there is some dissatisfaction with time taken to answer the call, the time spent on hold and the total duration of the call. As discussed earlier in the report there had been 10 vacancies in the Enquiry Point and with the recruitment of 8 new operators it is hoped that performance will improve.
159. Polite and friendly operators are essential in a contact centre and we found high satisfaction with the professionalism of operators, the clarity of information received and with whether the call was dealt with accurately and completely.
160. We also asked whether further calls had to be made to obtain information sought. 36% said yes, 52% said no and for 12% it was not applicable as they did not asked for information to be sent.
161. The overall satisfaction with the services of the Enquiry Point using a rating scale 1 to 5 (with 1 being least satisfied and 5 being most satisfied) was 2.92 (or 58%).
162. Additional comments provided in the survey included the following:
- Would benefit from direct line for partner agencies rather than listening to introduction that is essentially for the public
- Too long waiting for an answer (up to 20 minutes)
- Feedback from witnesses saying they can't get through and calling from a mobile is expensive
- Lack of consistency regarding what can be intimated
- Passed from pillar to post
163. The above exercise has shown that there is some satisfaction and dissatisfaction from criminal justice partners' point of view concerning different aspects of the services provided by the Enquiry Point. It is important that partner agencies views are gathered to ensure measures can be taken to ensure that their needs are met.
164. A review of contact type and reason for call over a period a 6 months showed a large proportion of police enquiries would have required the caller to be transferred (looking for advice and guidance, excusals, service of documents, warrants, mail, etc.. Similarly most of solicitors calls by far related to discussion of cases again where the caller would need to be transferred to the relevant member of legal staff (see Appendix 3 for breakdown).
It is recommended that the Enquiry Point continue to seek criminal justice partner views in relation to services provided by the Enquiry Point and to identify whether there is scope to provide a separate telephone number for them given that a large proportion of their calls require to be transferred to the relevant legal member of staff.