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Hanging on the telephone

Again, from Hansard:

John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average time was for which telephone callers to his Department's helplines spent in a queue in the latest period for which information is available.

Mr. McNulty: Waiting time will vary significantly between days of the week and across the day depending on the type of benefit and query. Complex calls involving the longest handling times will usually incur the longest wait time at busiest periods.

Reasonable enough, I suppose. And McNumpty has the timings. Woe betide anyone ringing for a crisis loan, as one will, on average wait 9 minutes and 11 seconds. If my title was playing while the caller was on hold, they could hear it in full three times, and most of it for a fourth time. Alternatively, they could listen to Cage's 4:33 in full twice. If memory serves, 0800 numbers are free to the caller, so at least that substracts insult from injury. Likewise the crisis loan decision line, where one might wait 8 minutes and 34 seconds for a response.

However, a call to the anonymous denunciation line 'National Benefit Fraud Hotline' will see an answer in six seconds, and one to the'Tax Evasion Hotline' nine seconds. You will pay for any denunciation though, as those are 0845 numbers


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