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Times taken to answer the DWP telephone lines

 

Daphne
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Written answer in the House of Commons sets out the average speed of answer on various helpllines including UC. Note however that -

The Average Speed of Answer (ASA) measures the average customer wait time from the point of entering a queue to connection to an agent. This excludes any time spent in pre-queue messaging and any wait time for calls ultimately abandoned by callers prior to answer.

     
Chrissum
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We were recently told by our DWP liaison manager that a UCFS helpline call would be answered in 2-3 minutes so there would be “no more Vivaldi”. I guess we’ll have to wait and see on that one!

     
benefitsadviser
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Time travelling DWP!

If those figures are right then some clients will have been answered before they call if its averaged!

Rang them twice last Friday. 45 mins. Each time

     
ub40worker
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Chrissum - 15 May 2018 03:23 PM

We were recently told by our DWP liaison manager that a UCFS helpline call would be answered in 2-3 minutes so there would be “no more Vivaldi”. I guess we’ll have to wait and see on that one!

Hahaha

     
Income Max
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Rang them about 2 hours ago and got answer within 10 seconds (not counting time spent navigating phone tree). So shocked I didn’t take in a word the person was saying at first, had to ask them to repeat everything.

Insanely good luck or is this a sign of changing times?

     
Jac
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Still experiencing around 20 minutes to be answered.

     
Jeremy Barker
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This seems to be getting worse. In the last couple of weeks my colleagues and I have been on hold for 45 minutes or more trying to get through to the UC helpline before we have to end the call with the problem unresolved. As we schedule client appointments and room bookings (we are in a shared building) for 1 hour it’s simply impossible for us to wait longer because the room we are in will often be needed by someone else when the hour’s up even if we haven’t got another client waiting to be seen.

I wonder whether there any plans for an intermediaries helpline like tax credits operate (which usually get answered pretty quickly)?

     
EJ
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Still in our first month of UCFS here.  Tried a call to UC helpline to check out the process for new style ESA before bringing my client in for an appointment.  Followed the directions - option 2 and 6, but It took 76 minutes this afternoon to speak to an officer :-(
She was, however, very helpful and emailed me the links to print off the application form, the form for getting the direct payments into the right account and the list of acceptable ID documents.
Just One hour and twenty five minutes out of my working day - Can it really be this easy???!

     
Jon (CHDCA)
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This doesn’t help for new claims, but supposedly, if you ring the UC helpline from the mobile number associated with the UC account, your call can automagically be put through to the relevant work coach (or at least the right team), instead of to the general UC contact centre.

I haven’t had chance to try this with a claimant, so I don’t know if it actually works as advertised, or if it does, if it’s actually any quicker to get through. Has anyone here asked a client to ring UC from their own phone?

     
Chrissum
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Jon (CHDCA) - 06 August 2018 07:29 PM

This doesn’t help for new claims, but supposedly, if you ring the UC helpline from the mobile number associated with the UC account, your call can automagically be put through to the relevant work coach (or at least the right team), instead of to the general UC contact centre.

I haven’t had chance to try this with a claimant, so I don’t know if it actually works as advertised, or if it does, if it’s actually any quicker to get through. Has anyone here asked a client to ring UC from their own phone?

Apparently if you ring from a different number you get the option to enter the “usual” number and this will have the same effect of transferring you to the relevant person / team.  So “Automagic” indeed!

Haven’t actually witnessed this in action though…

     
Dan Manville
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Jon (CHDCA) - 06 August 2018 07:29 PM

This doesn’t help for new claims, but supposedly, if you ring the UC helpline from the mobile number associated with the UC account, your call can automagically be put through to the relevant work coach (or at least the right team), instead of to the general UC contact centre.

I haven’t had chance to try this with a claimant, so I don’t know if it actually works as advertised, or if it does, if it’s actually any quicker to get through. Has anyone here asked a client to ring UC from their own phone?

It’s unreliable; my work mobile is the registered number for 3 UC accounts and it causes no end of problems on their end but I do usually get through to our Service Centre.

That aside, using a colleague’s number for the client I’ve mentioned elsewhere who’s lost their login credentials and I’ve been on hold now for 36 minutes. I doubt I will be speaking to a familiar voice when I finally get through.

      [ Edited: 9 Aug 2018 at 12:00 pm by Dan Manville ]
Daphne
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EJ - 06 August 2018 06:17 PM

Still in our first month of UCFS here.  Tried a call to UC helpline to check out the process for new style ESA before bringing my client in for an appointment.  Followed the directions - option 2 and 6, but It took 76 minutes this afternoon to speak to an officer :-(
She was, however, very helpful and emailed me the links to print off the application form, the form for getting the direct payments into the right account and the list of acceptable ID documents.
Just One hour and twenty five minutes out of my working day - Can it really be this easy???!

I would be very interested to know the links to print off the application form - I wasn’t aware of anywhere on gov.uk that you could download the ESA1?

     
EJ
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Sorry Daphne - not links:  I should have typed “attachments”.  - I blame the pressure of work!!

     
Peter Patton
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Called UCFS helpline last week and was on hold for almost hour and a half, 3.30pm-ish to almost 5pm.

     
Chrissum
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Not just UC and ESA etc. It’s a widespread thing. Spent 45 minutes on Friday morning waiting on funeral payments only to get an answer from someone in budgeting loans who didn’t have a Scooby about my query. I was promised a call back within 3 hours (never happened) but it would have helped if she had asked for my name and contact number. Luckily I gave these before she hung up on me. Now a further 15 minutes into Vivaldi after an announcement that they are currently experiencing a high volume of calls. Ah well at least I can write up this mornings calls!

     
Daphne
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EJ - 13 August 2018 02:17 PM

Sorry Daphne - not links:  I should have typed “attachments”.  - I blame the pressure of work!!

Ah - shame - I was excited for a moment - but back to normal ;)

     
Peter Turville
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39 mins for ESA - then refused to provide any info under implicit consent “exercising my discretion not to give that information” (why SDP is still not included in payt despite it having been stopped due to DWP error and decision dated 23/7 confirming ‘re-instated’ + if MR has been received and registered). PIP in award since 4/17.

Previous PIP award that has been to UT and back. Positive outcome from FTT re-hearing = SDP arrears due for prior period - ESA promptly removed SDP from current ESA payts!

Ahhhhhhhhh!!

     
Joanna
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Don’t start me on implicit consent or I swear I’ll have a meltdown. This is one of those perennial topics that need to be kicked up to the people who train telephone helpline handlers.

     
Dan Manville
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Peter Turville - 13 August 2018 03:53 PM

39 mins for ESA - then refused to provide any info under implicit consent “exercising my discretion not to give that information”

I always escalate the call to a supervisor when I get that.

45 mins on hold to UCFS so far; until today I used to say “UC are better at answering the phones than JCP” to partner agencies, I shall stop that now.

edit; I got through at 1:08

      [ Edited: 14 Aug 2018 at 02:01 pm by Dan Manville ]
Wendy Stanyon
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It took 65 minutes yesterday morning….....

     
Peter Turville
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Dan Manville - 14 August 2018 01:30 PM
Peter Turville - 13 August 2018 03:53 PM

39 mins for ESA - then refused to provide any info under implicit consent “exercising my discretion not to give that information”

I always escalate the call to a supervisor when I get that.

Snap! But yesterday the agent also point blank refused to put me through to his supervisor (who he obviously spoke to for advice when I refused to go meekly). I was offerred a 1 hr call back. Needless to say that has not been received. Case now escalated to local partnership team.

     
Bram@Ladywood
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Phoned UC helpline as client could not access account and has had no payment
Answered after 1hour 14 minutes. Needed to be passed to other section as reason for non payment because client been moved to full service. UC redirectly me. After about 5 mins got message ’ please replace handset’ and phone went dead. Have started process again 35 minutes further have elapsed and still no answer.

Favouite UC c*ckup of the day; Client reported local authority rent had reduced by 04p - his housing costs have been reduced TO 4p a month
2nd favoutite UC c*ck up of the day. : client (tenant) on PIP in reply on journal told that as non dep is not the person i n receipt PIP then non dep charge still stands

Please can I go home

     
stuart
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An inside view on telephony staffing issues from the PCS Union -

A number of sites continue to report stresses relating to telephony despite the roll out of Integrated Telephony across UC Full Service. Meanwhile Live Service staff continue to report unsustainable numbers of telephone calls, which, they feel, are not being fixed by overtime. We have relayed a series of concerns about telephony to UC management across July and August and have asked for an ad hoc meeting to discuss telephony, but this request has not been answered as yet.

We’re particularly aware of complaints being raised by telephony staff and by team leaders and DMOs at Makerfield and Glasgow, where EO grade staff have been asked to “take a call, set a task” without being trained on CAM [customer account managemet]. This misuse of resource has been raised with UC management.

https://www.pcs.org.uk/department-for-work-and-pensions/news/universal-credit-update-august-2018