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Information on IPSA's operational performance
FOI079
Disclosure Date:8 Oct 2010
Categories: IPSA - FINANCIAL IPSA - STAFF IPSA - OPERATIONS
Exemptions Applied: None
Request
  1. Information held relating to the time taken for IPSA to answer telephone calls from Members of Parliament and their staff. 
  2. Information, if held, on how many calls go unanswered - e.g. the calling party gives up on holding and terminates the call.
  3. Copies of the guidance documents provided for senior management staff at IPSA for their expenses claims.
  4. Information on the computer system, if any, which senior staff at IPSA use to claim their expenses.
  5. Average time taken to re-imburse senior management expense claims at IPSA.
  6. How many staff are employed to answer telephone enquiries / email enquiries. 
  7. How many complaints have been received each month for the past 3 months relating to IPSA's slow response to emails or failure to respond to emails. 
  8. Copy of IPSA's complaints handling procedure / policy.
Response

I can confirm that IPSA holds information that falls within the description specified in your request. 

In your first two questions you requested information relating to the number of calls that go unanswered and the time taken for IPSA to answer telephone calls from Members of Parliament and their staff. You also requested information on the number of staff employed to answer telephone and email enquiries. 

Core IPSA Phone Team

The tables on the next page outline the average daily waiting times experienced by MPs and their staff when phoning IPSA and selecting “Option 1” (i.e. with a query to be handled by the core IPSA Information team) between 24 August[1] and the end of September: 

Info     line      calls received

23rd

Sept

24th

Sept

27th

Sept

28th

Sept

29th

Sept

30th

Sept

1st Oct

Calls unanswered

45

14

36

28

68

62

32

Average Waiting time

09:30

02:33

05:58

09:13

12:30

15:52

06:34

 

Info line calls received

14th

Sept

15th

Sept

16th

Sept

17th

Sept

20th

Sept

21st

Sept

22nd

Sept

Calls unanswered

118

40

22

20

29

16

25

Average Waiting time

14:53

05:42

04:48

06:45

07:25

02:02

04:50

 

Info line calls received

3rd Sept

6th Sept

7th Sept

8th Sept

9th Sept

10th Sept

11th Sept

Calls unanswered

35

34

63

58

38

29

40

Average Waiting time

07:06

07:08

08:24

10:41

06:50

07:08

09:18

 

Info line calls received

24th

Aug

25th

Aug

26th

Aug

27th

Aug

31st Aug

1st Sept

2nd Sept

Calls unanswered

35

31

16

11

64

54

44

Average Waiting time

07:00

05:04

03:19

03:46

12:30

11:24

07:1


The Core IPSA Information Line Team at present consists of five members of staff.

Calyx Phone Team

The table below outlines the average waiting times experienced by MPs and their staff when phoning IPSA and selecting “Option 2” (i.e. with a query to be handled by the Calyx Helpdesk) in August and September[2]

Month

Calls

Unanswered

Calls    handled within 20s

Calls    handled within 60s

Calls    handled outside 60s

August

2

232

233

0

September

4

238

240

 

We have only recently begun to produce daily reports on the calls handled by Calyx.  These are set out on the following page:

Calyx calls received

22nd

Sept

23rd

Sept

24th

Sept

27th

Sept

28th

Sept

29th

Sept

30th

Sept

Calls unanswered

0

1

0

2

1

2

0

Average Waiting time

01:19

03:07

01:12

01:41

03:00

01:34

03:55

Three to four members of staff are currently employed on the Calyx helpdesk which deals with enquiries from MPs and their staff.

Payroll Phone Team

The tables below outline the average daily waiting times experienced by MPs and their staff when phoning IPSA and selecting “Option 3” (i.e. with a payroll query) between 7 September[3] and the end of September: 

Payroll calls received

22nd

Sept

23rd

Sept

24th

Sept

27th

Sept

28th

Sept

29th

Sept

30th

Sept

Calls unanswered

0

1

0

0

0

2

7

Average Waiting time

00:07

00:10

00:13

00:11

00:05

00:08

01:12

 

Payroll calls received

7th

Sept

8th

Sept

9th

Sept

10th

Sept

Calls unanswered

1

3

1

4

Average Waiting time

01:11

01:36

00:56

00:08

Four members of IPSA staff currently deal with payroll queries from MPs and their staff in addition to their routine payroll duties.

Written Correspondence Team

IPSA currently employs four members of staff to handle written queries from MPs and their staff on a full-time basis.  In practice, queries are often passed to other teams for response depending on the subject matter.

In questions three, four and five you requested information relating to expense claims by IPSA staff. Please find attached a copy of the IPSA Expenses: Policy and Procedures document. The average time taken to reimburse senior management expense claims is fourteen days. IPSA staff claim reimbursement for any expenses incurred by completing an excel claim form electronically. This claim form must then be authorised and signed off by line-management. 

In your final two questions you requested information on IPSA’s complaints handling procedure and the number of complaints received each month for the past three months relating to IPSA’s slow response to emails.

IPSA is currently finalising its formal complaints procedure. To date, any complaints received in writing addressed to either the Chief Executive or the Director of Operations at IPSA, and to the Chair of the IPSA Board, have been handled as formal complaints. Each of these complaints has been investigated and a full written response has been provided.

A search through our correspondence shows the following:

Month

Number of complaints received relating to time taken to respond to emails

June 2010

2

July 2010

3

August 2010

1

 

[1] The point at which our call handling arrangements were first substantively changed to allow for a wider range of IT related queries to be dealt with by the Calyx helpdesk (“Option 2”).

[2] These statistics have been provided by Calyx which is why they report on slightly different criteria than those which IPSA uses for the Core and Payroll phone teams.

[3] The point at which our call handling arrangements were further updated to allow MPs and their staff to select a payroll option (“Option 3”) to expedite the handling of their calls.