Slough Borough Council struggling with backlog following email gaffe

From the Slough Observer:

Slough Borough Council is yet to answer hundreds of emails from worried residents. SBC has been inundated with correspondence from residents over council tax bills, benefit payments and bus passes following a gaffe by the council.

Judith Davids, assistant director of customer services and ICT, made the frank admission during Tuesday’s meeting of SBC’s overview and scrutiny committee, where she said the backlog stretched to more than 300 emails.

The council is now working through emails up to eight working days old.

She said: “We do have email backlogs, and our staff are working overtime and weekends to address it.

“Emails take longer to respond to as they arrive unformatted and you have to take more care in how you craft them.”

Ms Davids also said that some customer services advisors, fluent in spoken English, could not answer emails as they were unable to write in sufficiently simple language.

During the meeting, held at Chalvey Community Centre in The Green, Chalvey, Ms Davids also said the council was looking to deliver more services online through formatted forms.

She said national research found that interaction on the web cost just 35p – far less than a face-to-face meeting – £7.12 – or a phone call – £3.58.

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