Govt looking to integrate call centres

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pretoria - Government is looking at integrating its existing call centres to reduce the load on the Presidential Hotline.

Since its launch, the Presidential Hotline has been inundated with calls, making the load heavy to deal with.

According to the quarterly update on the Presidential Hotline between September 14 and November 27, there were 30 650 calls to the hotline of which 9 190 cases were resolved.

A study, led by the Department of Public Service and Administration, is currently underway to determine the functioning and effectiveness of all government call centres.

"Through it, we want to achieve greater efficiencies and integration of government call centres, thus resulting in better citizen care and enhanced interaction between government and our citizens," the Presidency said.

In addition, while the Hotline has been successful in resolving enquiries, the Presidency has found that the responses by some government departments and provinces to enquiries have been far from satisfactory.

"The President's view that we need to do more to improve the attitude and performance of our public service to citizen care, has been proven correct," the Presidency said.

Since its launch in mid-September, overall, only 18 percent of total calls opened with provinces in the past three months were resolved.

"In the first month of the hotline operation, only 12 percent of the opened calls with provinces were resolved, 26 percent of calls in October and 31 percent in November."

With the national departments, in September only 19 percent of calls opened were resolved. However, the average response over the past three months was 33 percent.

In this regard, the President has directed all ministers and premiers to prepare turnaround strategies. "Each department and Premier's Office must indicate what will be done to ensure that all enquiries transferred to them for investigation are responded to urgently and efficiently."

The Presidency has treated this financial year as a pilot phase and will continue to improve the service and deal with whatever bottlenecks still remain.

"It is an effective service and we are daily encouraged by the excitement of people whose enquiries have been resolved."

The Minister in the Presidency, Collins Chabane is working with departments to ensure that the situation is resolved without delay and that departments put more effective mechanisms and resources to respond to enquiries.

He is also working to ensure that the service performs better at a technical and human resource level.

Directors-General have also been instructed by their Ministers to monitor the response and resolution rates of their departments and provinces on a regular basis and to ensure that citizens' queries are being attended to.

"In this respect, all Directors-General will be given access to the Hotline IT platform so that they can use it as their own monitoring tool," the Presidency said.