Residents and opposition councillors have voiced concerns over the time it takes to get through to Ealing Councils’ council tax department.
In a question raised at Tuesday’s (21 June 2022) full council meeting, Lib Dem councillor Jon Ball asked what is the average waiting time on Ealing’s dedicated council tax service number before speaking to a member of staff.
According to Cllr Steve Donnelly, council portfolio holder for inclusive economy, residents are waiting nearly 30 minutes to get through to someone to discuss council tax matters.
“The current average waiting times for the two lines currently dedicated to council tax enquires are 5 minutes and 20 seconds for the dedicated energy rebate line and 27 minutes and 33 seconds for the general council tax line,” he said. “The service is continually reviewing resources to ensure customers can access the support they need. As of 20th June the contact centres so far received an additional 2100 calls regarding the energy rebate and that’s impacted on waiting times.”
According to Cllr Donnelly, customers who don’t wish to be kept waiting hanging on the telephone can also request a call back and said 737 calls have been returned during this period.
As well as council tax advice, Cllr Donnelly said officers who deal with council tax are also dealing with other enquiries from residents including housing benefit and also give advice on other financial matters.
In a response, Cllr Ball said: “27 minutes in a lamentable figure but it’s the tip of the iceberg” and questioned why it takes so long.
Cllr Donnelly said it wasn’t an technology issue but rather a large increase in the number of people trying to access the service and the limited resources they have on offer to support the increase that has occurred over recent years.
view the full council meeting below: