of call centres
5. Departmental call centres are dispersed throughout
the UK (Figure 1). There is a high proportion in the South
East of England, but in terms of the volume of calls the distribution
is more even across the country. None are based overseas. The
Office had not specifically sought to encourage call centres to
be based away from London, but its new guidance would emphasise
the importance of giving sufficient consideration to costs as
well as the availability of staff with the necessary skills in
determining the location of call centres. In some circumstances
call centres might need still to be located in London despite
the higher costs.
Figure 1: Location
of departmental call centres
public awareness of the services which call centres provide
6. The public need to know what services they can
access using the telephone and how to get in touch with them.
Information on where to call is, however, not easily accessible.
Departments advertise their services in a number of ways such
as in leaflets and on the internet. But only 14% of call centres
advertise in telephone directories and there is no single directory
of helplines and call centres available. The Office of the e-Envoy
said that all call centres should be included in telephone directories
as this was the most likely source the public would consult. The
only exception might be where a call centre was set up quickly
for a short period in response to an emergency or to handle a
particular problem such as the foot and mouth crisis.
2 C&AG's Report, para 1.5 Back
Qq 16, 59, 62 Back
Qq 60-64, 88 Back
Qq 17-18 Back
C&AG's Report, para 2.3; Qq 94-99, 153 Back
C&AG's Report, para 2.5; Qq 14, 130-132 Back