Telephone contact centre to close at weekends

Liverpool City Council’s telephone contact centre will no longer be open at weekends starting from later this month.

It follows a reduction in hours during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen calls answered only between 8am and 6pm, seven days a week.

The change to weekday-only opening brings Liverpool into line with other big ‘core’ cities and follows increased preference by residents in a modern world to use online forms, emails and automated telephony services to deal with enquiries.

The new arrangement will mean the contact centre will still be open when 87 percent of calls are received, and will also deliver savings of around £1 million per year.

The change does not affect Careline – the adults and children’s contact centre – which will remain open 24/7.

Extended opening times may still be offered occasionally to deal with emergencies such as extreme weather, or for major tourist events, and elections.

The change will be introduced from the week commencing Monday 20 July.

The decision to reduce the hours was agreed by Cabinet in December 2019.

Councillor Liz Parsons, Cabinet member for Communities and Partnerships, said: “Technology has changed dramatically since we launched our contact centre more than 20 years ago.

“More and more people are getting in touch through digital means, such as emails and filling in the forms we have on our website.

“Our social media channels also have a large reach and are another way of us pushing out important messages to residents, without them having to get in touch with us.

“We do however recognise that not everybody has access to or uses IT, so we are committed to retaining the service during those working hours when we know the vast majority of people get in touch with us. We continue to make sure that our Careline service will remain open day and night.

“It has been well documented that we have lost 65 per cent of our budget over the last decade and this means we have to ensure we are making the most of the funding we have.”