By Angelos Anastasiou
ALL MINISTRIES have been told to comply with a Cabinet decision to assign up to three civil servants per department to man a dedicated hotline to answer phonecalls from the public.
In a memo to all government departments dated August 1, the Public Administration and Personnel Department (PAPD) referred to the June 11 decision that was taken on the back of research that concluded that some 180,000 calls to public services and departments had gone unanswered in the space of just one month.
Of these, most unanswered calls – over 97,000 – were logged at the Immigration Department.
The Cabinet decreed that all ministries should have taken adequate measures to address this issue by creating a dedicated desk exclusively dealing with the public’s requests and queries, each to be manned by up to three public servants.
At the time, ministries and departments were instructed to comply with the decision “within one month,” but the timeframe proved too stringent. They have now been given until the end of this month.
With regard to staffing the new hotline desks, government departments were advised that public servants from those semi-state organisations that would be closed down would be transferred for this purpose, but these have since been redeployed elsewhere.
“Since the previous decision may no longer be enforced, you are required to commit existing resources on a rotating schedule,” the memo read.
Ministries and departments were asked to submit their actions in writing to Finance Minister Harris Georgiades by the end of August so that he can inform the Council of Ministers accordingly.
Ministries, government departments and agencies were instructed to plan for the creation and operation of a call centre, provide a start date, staff the call centre, publicise the call centre telephone number, install call-logging software, and appropriately train call centre staff.