Croydon Council just keeps us hanging on the telephone

CROYDON COMMENTARY: ANTHONY MILLER contacted us… because he couldn’t make contact with the council

Have you tried phoning Croydon Council recently?

About anything. Ever? It’s virtually impossible.

They will only communicate with us via MyAccount. Well, MyAccount doesn’t work.

You know what? No one’s account works. Ever.

All councils are doing this.

Want your bin emptied? Ring the council, get diverted to an automated menu, get diverted to the website.

Chat to “Louis Bot” on the website, get diverted back to the phone line. Find a phone line that works for the council and explain to them that you can’t use the website and … get transferred to environmental services number which is an automated phone message that tells us to ring the website. And round and round and round in circles.

You cannot talk to the council about anything ever any more. Any problem that is not queueable is therefore insoluble.

There is no emotional contact or human contact with anyone. No emotional accountability. Just a load of people in their own home’s front room who, when they ring, are told endlessly to… log-on to a web-based system that is riddled with bugs, not readily navigable or simply does not work.

And what about the blind? The disabled? Those without internet access?

They can get with the digital program or go hang…

Why can’t the answer the phone anyway? Maybe they’re afraid someone will tell them what they think of their council’s services.

  • Anthony Miller is a comedy producer and performer, who this week received his 2018-2019 Council Tax bill

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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2 Responses to Croydon Council just keeps us hanging on the telephone

  1. It’s not much better when you visit Croydon Council offices in person. You wait in line…and then are directed towards the thoughtfully provided telephone booths….
    Where the endless cycle begins again.
    Anything to protect Council officials with ANY contact with the Great Croydon Public…

  2. Lewis White says:

    It is not only Croydon Council that likes to distance the customer from the council officer who can answer their question. Most councils seem to do the same. My feeling is that it is much more difficult to identify the right person now, and then get past a so called “help centre” (albeit staffed by people who are helpful) ….talk with a real person who actually knows about the topic.

    When one is lucky, and does, I feel so grateful I want to thank them profusely for being there and deigning to speak with me, a mere council tax payer !

    Sadly, there have always been belligerent people who forgot that council officers are people, or public servants, not public slaves. Maybe these impolite ones have spoiled it for the rest of us, or is it just cost-saving? When one looks at the massive reduction in central government support to local councils, one sees the latter issue probably is mainly to blame.

    But, nevertheless, has it not occurred to senior council officers and councillors that the best way of alienating the public, and convert reasonable folks into frustrated swivel-eyed monsters with red claws and steam coming out of their ears, is to deprive them of the ability to get their query answered quickly, via phone contact as well as email, and without having to have some stupid “account”?

    Any political party promising to improve accessibility and break down unnecessary barriers between council tax payers and the officers will reap a reward in the elections? The majority of the public respond positively when treated like adults, and listened to. Even the belligerent ones act more responsibly if they feel they are listened to.

    A current example of improved communication – that of publicising the submission of planning applications. I understand that the Labour administration is now reinstating the practise of informing the immediate neighbouring properties of a new application by letter– not just by a notice taped to a tree or lamp-post. Good on them for that — good planning is good democarcy.

    One other positive note— periodically I have been complaining to “Your Croydon” (the council`s on line magazine) that it publishes “cul de sac ” articles, which give some information, but then fail to give the reader who wants to know more, any contact number to the relevant council department, person or team, or an e-link that gives more information on the topic. In today`s e-world, the latter is almost unbelievable.

    I have got a glimmer of success, as some articles now give this link as a tail note. Not all, sadly, but it`s a start.

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