Surrey features three times in top ten baffling calls to council call centres in England and Wales (From Redhill And Reigate Life)
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Surrey features three times in top ten baffling calls to council call centres in England and Wales
12:10pm Tuesday 3rd September 2013 in News
Unusual off-the-wall calls and queries made to Reigate and Banstead Borough Council and Surrey County Council call centres have been highlighted in a national report.
The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, this week revealed a top ten list of some of the more bizarre calls made to call centre advisors over the last year.
And Surrey has featured three times in the list.
One caller left customer service staff at Reigate and Banstead Council stumped by asking how long they needed to leave an egg under a lamp for it to hatch.
Another had the borough council call centre staff scratching their heads with the question, “Are there any regulations on keeping a crocodile in my back garden?”
While staff at Surrey County Council's call centre were set a very tricky brainteaser regarding the library service.
The caller rang to say, “I’ve tried the number given on your website for the library, but it doesn’t work.” When asked by staff, “What was the number?” the caller replied: “0900 1800″ After a spot of deliberation, the staff member was able to advise, “I’m sorry, those are the times the library is open between.”
Elsewhere the LGA list included requests to council call centres seeking tips on how to marinade a juicy steak and how to get TV reception fixed.
Watford Council was asked to collect an exhausted homing pigeon that had landed in a back garden in order to get it back to its owner, and in Warwickshire, calls included someone asking if they should take their photos of crop circles off the internet to protect national security.
Council customer service centres handle more than 50 million calls each year, most of which are from people wanting information about council tax, environmental services or parking.
Peter Fleming, chairman of the LGA's Improvement and Innovation Board, said: “These light-hearted examples show the wide range of issues council staff deal with each day.”
Coun Fleming said: “Councils literally have to be ready for anything - from the serious to the mundane and sometimes even mind-boggling.
“Councils try to help callers with support and advice as much as they possibly can. “While the vast majority of calls fall within the bounds of councils’ usual responsibilities, there are occasions when call handlers are left baffled.”
He added: “The fact that councils are so often the first port of call for residents who are seeking a solution to their problems shows just how central a role councils play in the lives of their communities. “While councils offer more than 800 local services, some requests really are beyond them.”