Customer service in Calderdale has almost become non-existent according to residents. Members of the public are facing unacceptable waiting times on the phone. This is at a crucial time when the public need support from the Council more than ever.
During the pandemic, the Labour-run Council took the decision to shut down Council Offices in Halifax Town Centre, most notably was Customer First on Horton Street. This was a valuable public-facing building which provided residents with an important customer service. Since the pandemic and the closure of office space, the Council is continuing to operate a ‘work from home’ policy – but the question now being asked “is anybody working?”.
“The Conservative Group has repeatedly raised concerns surrounding productivity, and the Council achieving its targets since the move to homeworking became a permanent arrangement” said Cllr Steven Leigh, Leader of the Conservative Group, adding “the warning signs have been present for some time. Residents have contacted their Conservative councillors upset over receiving threatening requests for payment of council tax, and unable to get through to anybody at the Council Tax Team to arrange a payment plan – it is reprehensible, particularly at a time when residents are struggling with the rising cost of living. The Council needs to address this Customer First crisis urgently and provide the essential customer facing service which residents expect and deserve. We do not believe that a working from home policy is working, and it is time for a full review. Right now, we are not putting ‘Customers First’, they are at the back of the queue.”
Concerns have been raised elsewhere such as the Council’s missed collection reporting tool, which has been blocking residents from reporting missed collections displaying the message “You do not meet the criteria to report a missed collection, please see points to remember.” Penny Hutchinson, a local Conservative campaigner said “I have been contacted by large numbers of residents, particularly from Siddal and Southowram, reporting that their recycling has not been collected. Upon discovering that I could not report missed collections on Calderdale’s website, I cannot help but think that the Council is attempting to suppress the number of collections which have been missed”.
Have you experienced some of the problems mentioned above? We want to hear the issues that you have faced with customer services in Calderdale, please complete the survey and let us know your views: https://www.calderdaleconservatives.uk/form/improve-customer-service-in-cald