Westminster Council spend more cutting jobs than they claim to save

Westminster axes 39 more jobs as call centre moves 600 miles to the scottish highlands

Council says it will save £860,000 but the cost of the move is more than double at £1,835,000 – to provide a reduced service

Thirty nine more local jobs will be axed as Westminster Council closes the Lisson Grove call centre and moves the service 600 miles north to the Vertex call centre in Dingwall in the Scottish Highlands to save £860,000 over the next two years. But the Council says that “the cost of this initiative is £1,835,349 (£913,000 of which relates to redundancy costs; £922,000 relates to the cost of delivering the change). “

As part of the 600 mile move to Dingwall where the rest of the Council’s call centre operations were moved in 2006, residents will get a reduced service as the Council says, in a confidential report, that “the hours of customer agent telephony service on the Environmental Action Line and Parking lines, will be reduced from a 24 hour service to 08:30 to 18:30, except for emergency or noise calls which will continue. For all other calls customers will be directed to the web site, or when appropriate, automated payments.”

In addition, the Council says that “there will be a customer impact on the EAL and Parking Out of Hours calls. Currently the EAL and Parking lines receive 46,000 calls per annum, during the hours of 18:30 – 08:30. To reduce ongoing costs and to facilitate a cost effective transition it is proposed that these calls will be answered with an automated message providing the customer with options to complete their contact via other channels.”

The Council says “calls to the EAL line (which include; cleansing, reporting street faults, waste collections, recycling, road safety, animal warden, street lighting, noise etc) will be answered by a automated messaging indicating that noise, public safety issues and animal warden calls will be answered while all other calls will be referred to the web site or day time service.”

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said;

“Moving the Lisson Grove call centre to the Scottish Highlands 600 miles away is the Westminster Conservative version of ‘localism’, resulting in the loss of 39 local jobs and a much reduced service at a multi million pound cost to Council Tax payers. The 24 hour service will be cut in half and evening callers will be palmed off with an ansaphone message. This is the latest reduction in front-line services from a Conservative Council that is cutting too fast and too deep with little thought to the impact on residents.”

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