A Conservative councillor has admitted he made up an allegation that Ashfield District Council used an Indian call centre for a £17,000 phone survey.
Councillor Ben Bradley’s online claim caused outrage last week when he posted it on a Kirkby in Ashfield Facebook forum
Coun Bradley posted: “I have just discovered that our wonderful Ashfield District Council has spent £17,000 this month on paying an Indian company to call 1,000 residents in Ashfield from a call centre in Mumbai to ask what they think of council services.”
The Hucknall Conservative added:
“Not only is that £17 per response - would it not be cheaper to skip Mumbai and just go our and speak to people? - and obviously a massive pain in the backside for residents who have been receiving calls at 9 at night, but it comes at the same time as we’re all being asked to stump up more Council tax.
“Is that where our extra tax is going I wonder?”
But when the Chad contacted him Coun Bradley said: “I admit the post about using an Indian call centre was untrue and I took it down. I was just emphasising the point that the council was wasting money
“With our Council tax set to be going up it’s disappointing to hear that we are spending money in this way. If we want to understand more about the views of residents, we should be talking directly to them, not outsourcing the job and just analysing the statistics.”
A council spokesman said the council’s telephone survey was to measure how residents feel about Ashfield as a place and the services they receive from the Council.
She added: “The survey has been carried out by a UK based independent company, who were commissioned through a rigorous procurement process. The cost of the research (£17K) has been funded jointly by the Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner. The company selected was directed to make calls up to but not after 8.30pm.
“The questions in the survey align with the Council’s new corporate priorities and results will be reported to the Council at a later date before being published on our website. The results will be used to help us measure our performance over the next few years and will be used alongside other sources of information to help improve our services. This type of formal information gathering is only a small part of how the Council engages with residents, most of which is done directly by staff as they deliver their services or via Councillors and constituency work.”