A PHONE line connecting Uttoxeter job seekers to a vital Government service is once again working correctly – with a little help from the town’s MP.
The free-of-charge community outreach phone, based at Uttoxeter Library, in High Street, had been leaving callers frustrated after it kept transferring them to the wrong department.
The phone is vital for Uttoxeter job seekers as it puts them in direct contact with the Government department they need to speak to about their benefits and also puts them in direct contact with the Burton Job Centre, saving them a bus ride to the nearby town.
Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) volunteer Susan Edge told The Advertiser the direct line to Burton Job Centre, therefore the most used option, was not working at all.
She said this resulted in her trying several of the options that were working and, after explaining who she was, she was simply told the department had no facilities for transferring her call.
The volunteer added that there is only a Job Centre presence in the library on two days a week and Burton is a long and expensive bus ride away for people wanting to make a benefit query.
However, despite the repeated problem, a spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions, which is responsible for Jobcentre Plus, denied there was any problem with the service.
He said: “The phone in the library does still work to call our Department of Work and Pensions service lines but does not allow claimants to make calls to numbers that are not pre-programmed into the handset.
“Jobcentre Plus advisors allow claimants to use the landlines on their desks to make calls to numbers not pre-programmed in the phone if appropriate.”
After hearing about the problem job seekers were having, Uttoxeter MP threw his support behind getting the phone back in working order.
Now, Ms Edge has reported the battle is finally over and she returned to work to find a brand new wall phone for Job Centre contact.
She has personally checked all of the options and found she was put through to the correct Government department.
Mr Edge said to the town’s MP: “Whatever it was that you said to them was very effective.”
After hearing the news, Mr Griffiths said he is pleased that the ongoing problem has now been solved.
He said: “I am absolutely delighted that the Job Centre has acted so quickly to repair the fault in the phone system based at Uttoxeter Library.
“Getting easy and free access to advice and help is absolutely vital to any job seeker, and the broken phone caused a great deal of worry and frustration.
“Anybody can now go to the library and access all the help and support they need, which is excellent news.”