Bradford's disabled people not having their helpline calls answered

Councillor Amir Hussain

Councillor Amir Hussain

First published in Local news

One in three people phoning a Bradford Council helpline to request social care are not having their calls answered, according to a new report.

The Council’s Adult Services Access Point acts as a first point-of-call when an elderly or disabled person needs social care help.

People phoning up include the elderly and disabled people themselves as well as neighbours, GPs, relatives and even the police.

But the number of calls going unanswered is growing year-on-year.

The team’s target is to answer at least three-quarters of calls. In 2010/11, it answered 73 per cent, in 2011/12 it answered 64 per cent and in 2012/13 it answered 63 per cent.

Problems with the phone line were flagged up a year ago and an action plan was put in place, but since then the situation appears to have got worse.

Last month, a new low of only 58 per cent of calls were being answered. On average, 2,600 calls go unanswered each month.

The issue will be discussed at a meeting of the health and social care overview and scrutiny committee today.

Councillor Amir Hussain, the executive member for adult services on the Labour-run Council, said more staff had been taken on to deal with calls.

He said: “We have just appointed three more staff to work with the team. They are just going through their inductions as we speak.”

But he said the team were increasingly having to deal with more complex requests, which took time, and were also having to deal with a huge rise in the number of inquiries being made by e-mail.

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