The shift of council customer support to a private company was rightly
criticised by the Star (Transfer Plan Job Fears and Star Editorial.Feb
6th). Capita have promised greater efficiency and the experience to quickly change services over to a single contact number. But promises are easier to make than to keep.
Any decision to have call-centre staff dealing with calls about Sheffield
Council services brings to mind the case of Tiffany Wright. Calls from a
concerned midwife to social services were left in the hands of untrained
support workers, who didn’t spot warning signs. If those calls had been
picked up properly, Tiffany may have been alive today. Currently around
sixty council services are being looked at with a view to bringing under one contact number dealt with by customer service staff, with child protection not yet excluded.
The Green Party’s main concern is that any first point of contact with
Council services should be based on quality – experienced, motivated and
well managed staff who have the time to deal with complicated questions and the knowledge to know when and where to pass things on. A private firm will be chasing targets and worried more about their shareholders. That risks those in real need being neglected by the very system supposed to help them.
Sheffield Green Party