Westminster City Council and its housing organisation CityWest Homes have left residents hanging on the telephone since implementing their plans to close estate offices and replace them with a new centralised call centre. Labour campaigned against shutting estate offices and warned that the new call centre plan would face significant implementation problems.
Since the introduction of the ‘new CityWest operating model’ on 21st June Labour councillors have been inundated with stories of residents facing long-waiting times (up to an hour in some cases) as CityWest underestimated the number of people who had complaints or needed help. Furthermore residents have not been called back or have been given unsatisfactory holding responses from call centre teams who are struggling with the case load.
The new system has come under further strain due to concerns in the wake of the Grenfell fire, with residents unable to speak to long standing local staff in their offices to get reassurance and being made to join the call centre queues.
After these initial troubles and complaints CWH has brought in more temporary staff but some residents are still facing substantial waits. Labour is calling on the Council and CityWest to get a grip of the situation, looking again at staffing numbers to deal with the higher than expected call volumes and returning CWH staff to the frontline in local hub offices to help address resident’s concerns.