Customer Service Annual Report 2022/23

Infographics of Shared Services for stats on calls 125,219, social media 2,686 direct  received 1,586 sent and 2,367 engagements, Registration 2,156 deaths, 971 births, 358 marriages.civil partnerships,face to face 3,746 comm hub appointments,,  9.847 drop in customets,homecare alarm 264,914 alarms calls and 4,827 customer, CCTV monitoring 232 incidents logged 41 downloads provided to police.


The Customer Service team aims to answer customer enquiries at first point of contact, regardless of which channel our customers prefer to use, and in line with the Council’s longstanding ‘Call, Click, Come-in’ approach to customer service delivery. 

The locality model for customer service delivery, implemented in 2019, moved away from a separate, dedicated customer contact centre for telephone call handling, with call handling agents delivering only that channel. The locality model adopts an integrated approach, with multi-skilled agents able to deliver the service across digital, telephone and face-to-face channels, ensuring the customer receives the same quality of service regardless of how they choose to engage with the Council. 

This integrated approach to customer service delivery provides greater flexibility across the team. The multi-skilled agents are trained to deliver the service across all channels, and whilst rotas are in place to ensure all channels are resourced, the agents can be deployed reactively to any channel experiencing peaks in demand.

Customer services are currently delivered across our network of four Community Hubs in Kirkintilloch, Lennoxtown, Bearsden and Bishopbriggs.

Following COVID an appointment-based system for face-to-face contact was introduced and following a review of demand and channel analysis, operating hours for face-to-face engagement through the Hubs changed from 9am – 5pm to 1pm – 4pm. This approach has enabled appropriate resource allocation to meet all channel demands throughout the day to be introduced. All face-to-face appointment requests continue to be met through these adjusted opening times.

The Community Hubs provide meeting rooms to enable customer service agents to deal with sensitive and confidential matters and to be able to take personal data in accordance with privacy and GDPR requirements.

Appointment volumes across the Community Hubs continue to be reviewed. Discussions are underway with other Council services and with third party organisations such as East Dunbartonshire Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) to identify opportunities to allocate space at specified times for them to be able to schedule appointments/outreach work through the Community Hub network. This outreach was available before the pandemic and its return has been requested.

Customer Services Agents are also Assistant Registrars and once trained in Registration can register births, marriage paperwork, deaths and perform marriage ceremonies. A rota is in place to cover Registration duties, and Registration is overseen by and training and support provided by the Council’s Registrar and Technical Lead, based in Democratic Services. 

In addition to traditional customer services delivery, the service also delivers reception services to the tenants who lease space in Council facilities and the Council’s Emergency Response Centre (ERC) which operates 24 hours a day 365 days a year (see section 7). 

The Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system used by the Customer Service Team to effectively manage all customer cases is built in the same technology platform as the Council website, providing synergy between the two systems. The platform hosting both systems is no longer supported and a significant project is underway during 2023/24 to replace the CRM and the website and ensure continued compatibility between the two platforms. 

Turnover for Customer Service agents is an ongoing challenge. Agents are trained in exceptional Customer Service skills and have a broad knowledge of a wide range of Council services and are therefore well placed to apply for career progression opportunities as they arise across the organisation. Recruitment and training of new agents is a continuous process and this, alongside quality assurance support will be an ongoing consideration for future service developments.

The channel analysis which now follows provides details of the approach taken and performance in each of these areas. 

On this page you will find information on:

Channel Analysis - Telephone
Channel Analysis - Face to Face
Channel Analysis - Website
Channel Analysis -Social Media
Customer charter and unacceptable customer behaviour
Emergency Response Centre
Highlights an next steps

Channel Analysis - Telephone

Customer Service Agents use Smart working technology and whilst normally based in Community Hubs are able to transition to homeworking using their smart working laptops and the provision of headsets as required. This was essential during the pandemic and recovery period and is an ongoing Business Continuity response providing resilience in the service.

Calls Handled
Calls handled are the number of calls made to the Council that are responded to by a Customer Services Agent.

Month Calls Answered
0300 123 4510
Calls Answered
Social Work
Combined Calls
April 2022 10,386 1,432 11,818
May 2022 11,412 1,785 13,197
June 2022 9,668 1,618 11,286
July 2022 9,311 1,502 10,813
August 2022 11,887 1,926 13,813
September 2022 10.070 1,839 11,909
October 2022 9,929 1,922 11,851
November 2022 10,321 1,903 12,224
December 2022 9.227 1,475 10,702
January 2023 11,491 1,902 13,393
February 2023 9,907 1,799 11,706
March 2023 11,610 2,002 13,612
Total 125,219 21,105 146,324

Table 1. Total Calls handled 2022/23

Table 1 above summarises the calls responded to across the year. It shows that during 2022/23 a total of 125,219 calls to the 0300 123 4510 number were answered compared to a total of 121,482 in 2021/21, an increase in 3,737 calls across the year (3.1% increase). A total of 21,105 social work calls were answered compared to 19,559 in 2021/22 an increase in 1,546 calls (7.9% increase), with a combined total of calls answered for the year of 146,324 compared to 141,041 in 2021/22, an overall increase of 5,283 calls or just under 4% compared to the 3.03% increase the previous year. 

Previous year summary data is included in Table 2 below and shows a year-on-year increase in both 0300 1234510 calls and social work calls, continuing into the 2022/23 reporting year. Almost 10,000 more calls are now handled each year compared to two years ago. 

Years Calls Answered
0300 123 4510
Calls Answered
 Social Work
Combined Calls
2022/23 125,219 21,105 146,324
2021/22 121,482 19,559 141,041
2020/21 118,414 18,075 136,489

Table 2. Previous years comparison

As reported through the Council’s HGIOS six monthly and year-end Performance Reports, and summarised in Table 3 below, the number of calls answered fluctuated across each of the four quarters, with the fewest calls answered in Quarter 3, though a less marked reduction in call volumes was experienced in Q3 2022/23 compared to the previous year. 

Quarters Calls Answered
0300 123 4510
Average Response
Calls Answered
0300 123 4510
Average Response
Q1 31,466 00:02:50 31,768 00:02:46
Q2 31,268 00:02:58 31,331 00:06:44
Q3 29,477 00:02:15 25,023 00:07:16
Q4 33,008 00:02:05 33,260 00:02:48
Total 125,219 00:02:32 121,482 00:04:44

Table 3. Quarterly Performance

Table 3 also shows that the concerted effort and resource diversion to phones during peak times almost halved response times across the year compared to 2021/22 and ensured that each Quarter of 2022/23 was within the target time of three minutes.

This followed the full reopening of all four Community Hubs and the requirement to have customer service agents in the Hubs to meet customers, manage the front desk and deliver the face-to-face appointments which were additional to the ongoing registration and licensing appointments.

Abandoned Calls
In addition to call response times, recording the number of calls made to an organisation is a standard industry performance indicator. Table 4 below shows the call abandonment rates each month for calls to the Council’s 0300 1234510 phone number each month and the total percentage abandonment rate for the year.

Month Inbound Calls
Answered % Abandoned %
April 2022 12,012 10,386 87 1,626 13
May 2022 12,740 11,412 90 1,328 10
June 2022 11,505 9,668 84 1,832 16
July 2022 11,491 9,311 81 2,180 19
August 2022 13,672 11,887 87 1,785 13
September 2022 10,738 10,070 94 668 6
October 2022 10,758 9,929 92 828 8
November 2022 11,590 10,321 89 1,269 11
December 2022 10,367 9.227 89 1,140 11
January 2023 13,308 11,491 86 1,817 14
February 2023 10,402 9.907 95 494 5
March 2023 12,755 11,610 91 1,145 9
Total 141,338 125,219 89 16,112 11

Table 4. Call abandonment rates to 0300 1234510

The industry benchmark for call abandonment is 12% (Talkdesk, July 2022), but with more and more people using mobile phones to call an organisation’s customer services, and doing so while on the move, call abandonment as high as 20% is quite common. The Customer Service annual percentage of 11% is below the industry benchmark.

Call abandonment can be as a result of a number of factors, including:

  • Customer decides the queue is too long and prefers to call back later
  • Customer has heard message advising Council website may have information
  • Once there are eight in the call queue our ‘Queuebuster’ call back is offered.

Queuebuster call backs
Queuebuster technology is applied to our phone system so that once there are eight in the call queue, customers are invited to leave the queue and request that an agent call back once they become available. 

This service may suit some customers who do not mind at what time that call back may happen, but it does need to be balanced with overall call responding, because agents making calls back are then not available to respond to those callers in the queue. In addition, there is a cost to the Council for each queue buster call requested and then made.

A significant effort was made throughout 2022/23 to bring call response times within the three minute target and this had the positive knock-on effect of reducing the volume of Queuebuster calls required.

Table 5 below shows the numbers of Queuebuster calls requested and made across 2022/23 compared to the previous year. There was a reduction of 3,296 Queuebuster calls, down 64% of the previous year and therefore making a significant financial saving compared to the previous year.

Month Queuebuster calls made
Queuebuster calls made
April 223 137
May 150 100
June 212 93
July 258 208
August 294 1,539
September 31 681
October 76 711
November 93 641
December 148 352
January 241 524
February 30 64
March 93 95
Total 1,849 5,145

Table 5. Queue buster calls made 2022/23 and 2021/22

The higher number of Queuebuster calls in April, June-August and January correlate to and explain the higher percentage abandonment rates those months, with volume of calls also a factor.

Channel Analysis - Face to Face

All four community Hubs operated on the principle of an appointment-based basis during 2022/23, with general customer services appointments available in addition to licensing and registration in all four locations.

The Community Hubs re-opened following the pandemic in August 2021, towards the end of 2021, a review of resources across channels was carried out as demand remained higher for telephone and digital engagement. 

Revised operating hours of 1pm to 4pm for the Community Hubs were introduced in December 2021 enabling resources to be targeted to phones and digital channels in the mornings and for the final hour of the working day, when demand for these channels was at a peak.

A similar approach has been taken across many other councils following the pandemic, with some also offering appointments only on specific days in different localities, and some did not reopen face to face services at all.

Whist appointments are preferable, the team does not turn away those that attend the Hubs as ‘drop-ins’ and these can include people who wish to pay for a Council service in person.

Technology has also been introduced in the four Hubs to facilitate chip and pin and contactless payments as part of our cashless Hubs initiative. Significant progress was made over the course of the pandemic to increase the types of payments able to be made online, and the chip and pin functionality at the Hubs is a continuation of digital payment options, ensuring customer preferences in relation to payment methods can be accommodated. 

Community Hub Appointments
Table 6 below provides a summary of all the appointments and drop-ins at each of the four Community Hubs in 2022/23. These appointments are for all services except Registration services, which are collated through the Registrar based in the Corporate Governance Service.

Hub Total Appointments Total drop-ins
Kirkintilloch 1,025 5,077
Lennoxtown 1,220 2,111
Bearsden 1,171 1,247
Bishopbriggs 330 1,412
Total 3,746 9,847

Table 6. Community Hub Appointments & Drop-ins 1pm-4pm Monday to Friday

The table shows that drop-ins exceed appointments in all four of the Community Hubs, making up 72% of the 13,593 face-to-face customers that were seen in 2022/23. If customers attend the Hubs out with the face-to-face operating hours, they are advised to make an appointment, and appointments are required for specific services such as licencing, when for example, documentation needs to be presented for receipt of the licence applied for.

Kirkintilloch Community Hub remains the busiest of the Community Hubs, handling 27% of appointments and 52% of drop-ins. Lennoxtown is the busiest for appointments 33% of all appointments and Bishopbriggs is the quietest Hub with 9% of overall appointments and 14% of drop-ins.

When customers telephone to make an appointment with customer services, they can select any of the four Hubs depending on either preferred location or soonest availability of an appointment. 

Table 7 below shows the breakdown of both appointments and drop ins each month for each to the Hubs.

Month Kirkintilloch


April 79 795 82 268 76 82 27 46
May 78 691 99 253 95 92 42 140
June 85 539 111 127 86 116 47 132
July 104 375 117 171 67 225 17 125
August 111 482 128 139 145 80 46 161
September 101 365 106 139 148 47 3 153
October 72 225 106 158 101 85 40 117
November 98 265 108 140 121 80 10 102
December 46 331 78 178 71 108 13 58
January 76 382 119 204 62 117 36 114
February 74 207 70 163 103 51 37 100
March  101 420 96 171 96 164 12 164
Total 1,025 5,077 1,220 2,111 1,171 1,247 330 1,412

Table 7. Appointments and Drop-ins by month for each Hub

The monthly breakdown of appointment per Hub shows that this fluctuates across the year and when the new Customer Relationship Management system is implemented, further analysis on the types of appointments and appointment duration will be able to be measured and evaluated.

The Customer Service Team supports the delivery of Registration Services in East Dunbartonshire with the Customer Service Agents/Assistant Registrars working closely with the Council’s Registrar/Technical Registration Lead, based in Democratic Services.

Registration data is collated by National Records Scotland (NRS) on a calendar year, so the data in this report is for 2022. 

A total of 3,485 registrations were conducted in East Dunbartonshire in 2022, including births, still-births, deaths and marriage paperwork (marriages and civil partnerships) and 3,289 or 94% were conducted by Customer Service Agents/Assistant Registrars.

The Customer Services locality model provides 4FTE Assistant Registrars so that appointments in each Registration Office can be covered and this cover is provided on a rota basis in the team for those who have been Registration trained. During and following the pandemic, 5.2FTE have delivered Registration as the service had to be prioritised but will return to the model level of provision in 2023/24.

Births and Deaths
Since the COVID pandemic, death registration is carried out remotely, with telephone appointments made with customers to conclude the registration once a medical certificate on cause of death (MCCD) has been received. Following registration, Death Certificates are then posted to the customer or collection from one of the Community Hubs can be arranged.

East Dunbartonshire data is collated for each of the four Registration Offices (based in the Community Hubs), although births and deaths can be registered at any Registration Office, and with remote Registration continuing, this is not necessarily reflective of the local population. 

Table 8 above provides a summary of birth and death registrations in East Dunbartonshire and indicates that remote birth registration continues to be conducted from Kirkintilloch Community Hub. This approach was established during the pandemic.

Community Hub Births Still- births Deaths
Kirkintilloch 366 0 2,156
Lennoxtown 40 0 0
Bearsden 391 0 0
Bishopbriggs 174 0 0
Total 971 0 2,156

Table 8. Summary of Birth and Death Registrations for 2022

Table 9 above shows a comparison of the numbers of births, still-births and deaths registered in East Dunbartonshire during previous years. Whilst the number of birth registrations remains comparable, the number of death registrations has increased by 377 or 21%. As anyone can register a death in the area, this likely reflects capacity within our registration services rather than local demographics. 

Comparison Births Still-births Deaths
2021 Total 956 2 1,779
2020Total 900 5 1,855

Table 9. Comparison of Birth and Death Registrations for previous years

Table 9 above shows a comparison of the numbers of births, still-births and deaths registered in East Dunbartonshire during previous years. Whilst the number of birth registrations remains comparable, the number of death registrations has increased by 377 or 21%. As anyone can register a death in the area, this likely reflects capacity within our registration services rather than local demographics.

Marriage and Civil Partnership
Similar to birth and death registrations, the data available from NRS for marriages and civil partnerships is collated by calendar year and the data below is for 2022. 

Table 10 below summarises the marriage registration data for the 2022 calendar year.

Total Marriages Civil
Kirkintilloch 17 21 38 3
Lennoxtown 27 9 36 0
Bearsden 182 59 241 0
Bishopbriggs 30 7 37 3
Total 256 96 352 6

Table 10. Marriage and Civil Partnership Data 2022

A summary of the data for 2021 and 2020 is provided for comparison in Table 11 below.

Comparison Religious
Total 2022 256 96 352 6
Total 2021 171 56 227 6
Total 2020 60 46 107 1

Table 11. Marriage and Civil Partnership Data Comparison – Previous Years

Civil Partnership numbers remain small with six in both 2021 and 2022. There was a significant increase in the total number of marriages registered in 2021 compared to 2020, more than doubling from 107 to 227 or a 112% increase, reflecting the lifting of COVID restrictions. The number of marriages registered rose again in 2022, up 125 compared to the previous year, a 55% increase.

Channel Analysis - Website

The Council website is a key communication and customer service channel for the Council, with Agents able to respond to customer enquiries online and direct customers to the relevant section of the website for future self-service where possible. Fig 1 below shows the visits to the Council website from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023 are broadly similar to those from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022.

Website visits 2,098,011, Page views 3,309,733, Unique visitors 2,045,887, returning visitors 2,198, Bounce rate 86.90%

Fig 1. Website views 2022/23

The data shows a peak of website visitors in January, which coincides with Early Year registrations. The rise in August coincides with schools returning and may be attributed to web searches for school terms dates.

Year on year trends in website traffic can help to inform the Customer Services team in relation to anticipated enquiries at certain times of year and conversely, Customer Services enquiry data can inform what additional information it would be beneficial to publish to the website.

2022/23  Desktop 37.52%, Tablet 4.03%, Mobile 58.45% 2021/22 Desktop 37.31%, Tablet 4.72%, Mobile 57.97%

Fig. 2 Visitors by Device

Fig 2 (above) confirms that the majority of visitors to the Council website are using a mobile device rather than a desktop or laptop computer. Computer access remains relatively constant compared to the previous year, whilst mobile phone access has increased slightly slightly and tablet device access decreased slightly.

Most popular pages

Fig. 3 Most Popular Website Pages

Fig 3. Shows that the most popular pages on the Council website continue to be School Holidays, Bins and Recycling and the Planning pages. This has been the case historically, through the duration of the current Council website but also in the previous site and is consistently the case in local government websites.

Encouragingly in terms of channel shift and increasing transactional functionality online, making a payment saw a significant rise in popularity as a page, during and following the pandemic. This coincided with the wider range of payments now possible on the website because of accelerated development during the pandemic. Online payments remain at this increased level during 2022/23 and with the implementation of a new financial system, numbers of online payments made will be able to be better analysed and reported. 

With the introduction of the new Customer Relationship Management system, expected in 2024, more in depth analysis of customer enquiries through all channels, digital (including social media and email), telephone and face to face will be possible. This data and its analysis will help to inform content for the website and transactional functionality for the website to further support channel shift and customer self service at a time and place that suits them.

Table 12 below summarises the page views and page visits for the top five pages on the Council website and reflects a return to pre-pandemic web traffic trends, with the addition of making a payment as explained above.

top 5 page views

Table 12. Summary of Top 5 Pages

Whilst many of the most popular pages on the Council website are information only pages, many more customers are now using the website to engage with the Council through the completion of service specific webforms.

Website Transactions
Some webforms simply relay information to the Council and the webform is automatically sent to the relevant service area while some webforms enable the customer to complete a transaction.

This is in line with our channel shift aspirations. We aim to facilitate as many transactions as possible on the Council website and enable customers to perform transactions at a time and place most suitable to them and not restricted to the opening hours of a Council facility or the operating hours of a service team. 

The number of digital services on the website was accelerated as a result of COVID-19, with many more forms and payment types now possible. The new Customer Relationship Management system and the new Website Content Management system which is also underway, will be effectively integrated and once in place further online transactional services will be developed. 

Table 13 below provides a summary of webform received during 2022/22 compared to 2020/21, for the main webforms currently in place.

Webform type 2020/21 2021/22 2022/23
Missed bin report (CS) 9,693 7,235 6,573
Submit a general enquiry (CS) 8,333 8,365 6,607
Bin Supply and Removal (CS) 4,321 4,669 4,198
Special uplift request (CS & Service) 3,523 6,140 5,531
Road fault report 2,408 4,303 3,847
Registration for education 2,279 3,104 3,831
School Clothing Grants & Free Meals 2,001 1,993 2,145
Traffic and lighting fault report 1,727 1,954 2,157
School placing requests 1,593 1,722 1,581
Submit a complaint 1,283 1,599 1,376
Litter picking and street cleaning report (CS) 988 805 753
Small Business Bonus Application 975 218 846
Dog fouling report 869 138 118
Pest control report 850 1050 674
Gritting report 772 160 339
Instrumental Music 728 939 1083
Comments, suggestions, compliments (CS) 678 207 142
Noise report 535 484 496

Table 13. Web form submissions from the Council website

Whilst some forms are submitted directly to the service for processing and next stages, a significant number, including those with the highest submissions are processed or partly processed by the customer services team. 

Waste services and roads continue to receive high submissions and school clothing grants and free school meals have featured in the top 10 since 2020/21 as this application and verification process was brought online during the pandemic having previously been a paper-based application process with face-to-face verification in the community hubs. The reduction in gritting reports reflects the milder winter experienced in 2022/23. 

Channel Analysis -Social Media

The Council’s social media channels are managed by the Communications & Engagement Team through an online social media management tool, which retains an audit trail of who posts to the social media accounts and when, and provides analytics on the numbers of posts, interactions with those posts, the reach of those posts and any direct messages to the accounts.

Comments and enquiries to the Council through the social media posts are classed as interactions, and the Customer Services Team, working closely with colleagues in Communications & Engagement, respond to these enquiries during the hours of operation (Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm). Out of hours responses in emergency situations or in relation to an incident can be made through the Communications out of hours duty response service.

Customer Engagement
Facebook and Twitter are the predominant social media channels used by the Council to share information on service delivery and key projects, initiatives, and campaigns. The channels are also used to encourage participation in consultation and engagement activity.

If the Customer Services team receives large numbers of calls on an emerging issue or incident, the Communications & Engagement team are advised, and messaging can be agreed and issued through social media channels to inform residents and ease pressure on calls.

The growth in followers/fans across the channels remains steady and has been continually growing since the channels were established. The Twitter following rose from 19.4k to 20.1k across the year and the Facebook following rose from 18.5k to 22.2k across the same period. With approximately 44,000 households in the area these social media figures show that the channels are reaching high numbers of the area’s residents. 

Outbound engagement on the main Facebook and Twitter accounts is predominantly carried out by the Customer Service Team during office hours, with responses to priority situations out of hours carried out by the Communications out-of-hours duty officer. Engagement by the team includes providing comments to an original post, providing replies to comments made on a Council post and direct messaging. Outbound engagement for 2022/23 is summarised in Table 14 below.

Outbound engagement Nos
Comments 409
Replies 372
Direct messages sent 1,586
Total 2,367

Table 14. Outbound Social Media Engagement by Customer Services

The predominant engagement with social media channels by the Customer Services team is in responding to and sending Direct Messages.

Direct Messaging
Customers can also engage with the Council on social media by Direct Message. A Direct Message is when someone contacts the Council privately through a social media channel rather than posting publicly to the page. Customer Service agents monitor and respond to Direct Messages and the volume of these fluctuates across the year depending on a number of factors relating to Council services, including programmed publicity around service changes and circumstances at a point in time or in a specific locality. Direct Messages can also relate to the customers circumstances and where the customer prefers to use social media channels to either telephone or other digital options.

If a customer is sharing personal contact information on social media, customer service agents will ask them to share such information by direct message. Equally, if a service request has been made but contact details are required, again, the customer service agent will ask that this information is submitted to the Council by direct message rather than in a public post.

In Table 15 below shows the Direct Messages received by the Customer Services Team for each reporting Quarter in 2022/23 and Table 16 shows the number of Direct Messages sent by the team for the same reporting period.

Platforms Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Total
Facebook 257 309 342 325 1,233
Twitter 143 113 109 88 453
Total 400 422 451 413 1,686

Table 15. Direct Messages Received during 2022/23

Platforms Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Total
Facebook 294 371 365 344 1,374
Twitter 79 57 35 41 212
Total 373 428 400 385 1,586

Table 16. Direct Messages Sent during 2022/23

Table 15 and Table 16 show that there is significantly more customer engagement through Direct Messaging, both in terms of messages received (73%) and messages sent (87%) on Facebook than there is on Twitter.

We can see a comparison in Table 17 below for Direct Messages received over previous years and in Table 18 below for Direct Messages sent over previous years.







Facebook Received






Twitter Received






Total Received






Table 17. Trend in Direct Messages received in previous years








Facebook sent







Twitter sent







Total sent






Table 18. Trend in Direct Messages sent in previous years

The trend comparison data clearly shows that Facebook remains the predominant channel for engaging with customers through direct messaging. 

It also clearly shows that social media is declining as a preferred way of engaging with the Council, with Table 17 showing a 42 % drop in messages received from 2020/21 to 2021/22 and a further 28 % drop in messages received between 2021/22 and 2022/23. 

This data suggests that whist social media channels remain important in terms of reaching wide audiences with key messaging, they are not seen as preferred methods of direct contact which is traditionally conducted through face to face, telephone and email. 

As the number of channels the Council operates over expands (both LinkedIn and Instagram have been added to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube), these will all continue to be monitored by the Customer Services team, and the data from across all channels will be used to better understand each audience and target information accordingly.

Customer Charter and Unacceptable Customer Behaviour

Our employees deserve a safe and respectful place to work. Any act of abuse, either physical or non-physical such as assault, threats or name calling to an employee in the course of their duties will not be tolerated. We will summon the assistance of the police to deal with perpetrators.The Council’s Customer Charter and the Unacceptable Customer Behaviour Strategy both sit with Customer Services. The Charter defines the service and behaviours that our customers should expect from the Council and also the behaviours that the Council expects from the customer. This is supported by Zero Tolerance of abuse posters displayed in public facing reception areas (Fig 4) .

While unacceptable customer behaviour is rare, the Unacceptable Customer Behaviour Strategy is in place to ensure that action can be taken to protect the Council‘s workforce from aggressive, abusive or violent behaviour. When the Strategy is applied to any Council customer a record is made of this on the CRM to ensure all agents are aware of what restrictions are in place over what time period.

During 2022/23 restrictions were applied to a total of 
two customers. By comparison restrictions were also applied to three customers in 2021/22 and to three customers in 2020/21.

Emergency Response Centre

The Emergency Response Centre (ERC) provides a 24/7 service throughout the year. Working across three shifts, the team responds to community alarms, monitors both public space and Council’s own security CCTV cameras and responds to emergency out of hours phone calls from customers and from partners and first responders.

The community alarm service is a lifeline service that supports vulnerable people to remain in their own homes. The ERC monitors alarm activations 24 hours a day, responding to customers and arranging for appropriate assistance. The ERC delivers an alarm monitoring service to customers across East Dunbartonshire and also provides a service to West Dunbartonshire Council to monitor community alarms in the West Dunbartonshire area. In addition to the two councils, the alarm service is also provided to Cordale and Hanover sheltered housing schemes. 

Alarm care monitoring
There were a total of 4,827 alarm customers in the area covered by East Dunbartonshire ERC, an increase of 380 since the 4,447 reported in 2021/22 period. In the period from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023 a total of 263,914 alarm calls were handled in the ERC, 206,336 of these were incoming alarm activations and 51,278 were outgoing calls from the ERC through the alarm technology to the customer. 

Table 19 below summarises the incoming, outgoing and total alarm calls for 2022/23 and 2021/22.

Alarm calls 2021/22 2022/23  Increase % Increase
Incoming 192,118 206,336 14,218 7.4%
Outgoing 51,728 57,578 5,820 11.3%
Total 243,396 263,914 20,518 8.4%

Table 19. Alarm Calls to and from ERC

This is an increase in alarm calls of 20,518 or 8.4%, almost double the increase experienced in 2021/22 when there was an increase of 10,532 more calls or 4.5% compared to the previous year.

CCTV Monitoring
The ERC also monitors and records images from public space CCTV cameras. In the 12-month period of 2022/23, agents logged 232 public space CCTV incidents across the authority. 
This compares to 179 incidents logged in 2021/22, an increase of 53 incidents or 30% as summarised in Table 20 below.

Incidents 2021/22 2022/23 increase % Increase
CCTV 179 232 53 30%

Table 20. CCTV Incidents logged in East Dunbartonshire

Crimes and public unrest are immediately reported to Police Scotland locally and all CCTV images are recorded and can be downloaded for use in police investigations and criminal proceedings. In 2022/23 a total of 41 downloads were provided to Police Scotland to support investigations.

Police officers regularly request permission to attend at the control room to review incidents and on occasion agents may be required as expert witnesses in court cases.

Out of hours calls
When the Council is closed for normal business the ERC handles all incoming phone calls. Customers are informed that the Council is closed but that if they have an emergency they should hold and their call will be answered. 

During 2022/23 the ERC answered 5,976 out-of-hours emergency calls, with an average response time of 1 minute and 6 seconds which reflects the very low volume of calls in comparison to calls made to the 0300 21234510 number in office hours. 

This was 436 fewer calls and a 7% decrease compared to the number of calls answered in 2021/22, when the 6,412 calls were answered with an average call response time of 29 seconds. Table 16 below summarises the out of hours calls year 2021/22 and 2022/23. 

Month No. of calls
Average time 
to answer
No. of calls
Average time 
to answer
April 587 00:23 466 00:23
May 483 00:21 352 00:28
June 501 00:21 494 00:20
July 600 00:33 433 00:27
August 651 00:53 385 00:26
September 482 00:22 442 00:29
October 575 00:30 491 00:27
November 556 00:32 435 00:30
December 516 00: 1,075 04:03
January 511 00:25 577 00:30
February 513 00:31 392 00:28
March 437 00:26 434 00:28
Total 6,412 00:29 5,976 01.06

Table 21. Annual Out of Hours calls 2021/22

Although call response times increased in 2022/23 compared to the previous year, one minute and six seconds is well within the Customer Services call response target of three minutes. The increase in response times may perhaps be related to the 8.4% increase in alarm calls in the same year. Community Alarms take priority in the ERC over both CCTV and out-of-hours calls.

It has been a successful year for Customer Services delivery and despite the challenge of high turnover and continuous recruitment, key performance targets have been met and the team has strived to deliver a first class service to the people of East Dunbartonshire. 

Recruitment and the continuous training of Agents remains a priority to ensure that high standards are maintained across the team. It is that approach to training and coaching to ensure quality skills within the Team that makes Customer Service Agents such desirable applicants to career progression opportunities in other Service Areas throughout the Council.

A range of highlights on day-to-day Customer Services delivery this year included:

  • Achieving call handling targets across the year
  • Remaining below the industry benchmark for abandoned calls
  • Significantly reducing the need to offer Queuebuster call-backs to customers
  • Meeting all appointment requests for face-to-face services
  • Delivering 91% of 3,485 Registrations (births, marriages, deaths) in the area
  • Supporting 4,827 Alarm Care Customers through the handling of 263,914 calls
  • Supporting the rollout of Young Person (U22) National Entitlement Cards, processing 8,332 applications for new or replacement cards to include the new entitlement to free bus travel.

Next Steps
A project has been established through the Business & Digital Change team to replace the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system used by customer services to effectively manage cases and customer records. The current system has reached end-of-life and is built on old technology that is no longer supported. The new CRM is due to be delivered in early 2024.

Significant improvements have been made in CRM technology in recent years to support more efficient service delivery and optimise customer service agents’ ability to work across multiple channels according to customer demand. Implementation of a new system that incorporates these technology advancements, will substantially improve the service customer service agents can deliver. It will also support enhanced performance reporting through improved data recording and analysis, which will in turn inform future business development and performance targets.

A parallel project to replace the Council website Content Management System (CMS), also being managed through the Business & Digital Change Team will ensure compatibility between the two systems to support effective working practices across the Customer Services Team.

Public Realm CCTV cameras all now need to be updated as does the CCTV monitoring equipment in the ERC. A project is underway to review, determine need, assess available solutions and procure the replacement technology to ensure monitoring can continue to take place to protect our public spaces. 

The ERC Agents and CS Management are also involved in the ongoing analogue to digital project underway to replace the ERC technology and alarm care customer’s technology to be compatible with new digital telephony being introduced UK wide.

The suite of technological developments underway will increase the functionality of the Team, enabling them to continue to deliver first class services to the area.