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Can £160 million and the cloud fix the DWP’s dismal contact centres?

One DWP contact centre services provider reported a shocking 173 SLA breaches in a single year....

DWP contact centres
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The UK’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)  is going to market for a new partner to digitalise and run its sprawling contact centre estate; one of Europe’s largest, spanning 36,000 staff across 200 sites.

DWP, which pays out pensions and benefits worth £3.7 billion weekly, is looking for a managed service provider to modernise its contact centre infrastructure; taking it to the cloud and introducing more automation.

The DWP contact centre contract will be worth up to £159.2 million.

The aim of the new “Digital Channels Contact Centre (DC3) platform” and “replacement managed service provider” is to help “transform our services and deliver an effective welfare system for Citizens when they need it, while reducing costs and achieving value for money…” DWP said.

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Whoever wins the contract (requests to participate are due September 25) will be taking on an area of government ripe for improvement.

An earlier Freedom of Information (FOI) request shows that Serco, which runs the DWP’s “Contact Centre Services Package B” saw a Service Level Agreement (SLA) failure on average once every three days over the 2019-2021 period; with a gruesome 173 SLA failures in 2021 alone.

(That contract spans services for the carers allowance, disabled living allowance, attendance allowance, national benefit fraud hotline, national insurance number appointments, and job centre enquiry line.)

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