A large local council needed to provide support and help to those people in its borough affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. They wanted to provide a community hub helpline which people could call to request urgent help and support during a very challenging time.

Huntswood was engaged to provide an emergency call centre and worked with the council to design the process, telephone scripts, and training materials. A team of 15 experienced call handlers were trained and mobilised and were receiving calls from local residents, other organisations, and the voluntary sector within five days of the original request.

Over a period of 12 weeks, we supported more than 5000 callers with wide-ranging queries and emergency requests to ensure that they had the information and support they needed during a period of significant change and uncertainty. We also made in excess of 2500 outbound telephone calls to identify and offer support to particularly vulnerable residents.

During the operating period, Huntswood worked closely with the council as the requirements increased, liaising with third-party service providers and acting on information received from local government. Capacity was flexed over time to respond to the demand and operating hours were increased to ensure cover on weekend and bank holidays. We were able to transition from our initial team of 12 call handlers operating Monday to Friday only, to create a flexible pool of 24 call handlers seamlessly, with no disruption to the service offered.

Many of those calling were extremely vulnerable individuals who were facing very challenging circumstances. Our experience and expertise in dealing with customer vulnerability enabled us to provide a high level of service, appropriate to the needs of all callers. We received many positive responses from the callers who contacted us to thanks us for the service.