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Councillors praise performance successes during lead up to pandemic

Photo of Councillor Colin Swansborough

Cabinet councillors today (July 15) welcomed a number of performance achievements made during the final quarter of 2019/20, which ended as lockdown measures came into force.

Among these was answering 87% of calls to the contact centre within 60 seconds, well above the 80% target. This was attained despite the quarter experiencing some of the busiest times in the year for customer contact, including January's return from Christmas holidays and annual billing in March when more than 250,000 correspondences are sent to residents in a few days.

Councillor Colin Swansborough, Cabinet member for Place Services and Special Projects, said: "This is a notable achievement and shows a great improvement from the first quarter of the year.

"What is particularly impressive, however, is how the contact centre quickly adapted in response to Covid-19 which broke out at the end of this quarter. By increasing the number of licenses for staff using the council's live chat service, we have seen a channel shift from telephones to email and webchat enabling a far larger volume of interactions with people.

"Contact centre staff also gave vital support to the most in need in our community by helping to cover the Community Hub helpline and making welfare calls to around 3,000 vulnerable tenants a week."

Another achievement during this quarter was the completion of pedestrian improvements to Terminus Road, Cornfield Road and Gildredge Road in a joint scheme with East Sussex County Council, to complement the multi million pound extension to The Beacon.

The Rough Sleeping Initiative, which has been in operation since October 2018 to reduce homelessness was also praised as it continued to expand with weekend support provision being explored in partnership with the Community Safety Partnership. At the end of March there were 18 verified rough sleepers in Eastbourne.

The number of bins missed by waste crews also fell during this quarter, standing at less than 33 bins per 100,000 - several percentage points better than the target figure.

Councillor Swansborough added: "As this period came to an end we began three months of lockdown and life has changed dramatically. It's always important to monitor our performance so that we are delivering the best services possible in the most efficient manner, and I am pleased with the significant successes we made across the board in this quarter leading up to the pandemic."