Phone failures criticised by former mayor

Worcester News: Councillor Lucy Hodgson, a former Mayor of Worcester Councillor Lucy Hodgson, a former Mayor of Worcester

A FORMER Mayor of Worcester has revealed her anger over continuously collapsing phone lines at the city council - saying it could have had a "catastrophic" impact on services.

Councillor Lucy Hodgson has called for more action to prevent the lines being out of action again.

As your Worcester News revealed last week, the phones have collapsed four times in just three months, meaning people ringing the Worcestershire Hub could not be connected to staff.

Following the concern, the council now says it plans to move to a new "internet protocol" based system in two months which should avoid any repeats.

During a full council meeting several councillors said they wanted assurances over it.

Cllr Hodgson said: "BT provide our phone lines as well as the majority of our internet access too.

"I wonder what impact these catastrophic incidents have had on council services?

"We are talking about direct access into our council offices, that hasn't worked because of these lines."

The council's Labour leadership says it hopes the problems can be rectified.

Councillor Lynn Denham, cabinet member for community engagement, said: "I don't think there's been a catastrophic failure - back-up facilities have been in place to ensure people could still get in touch."

During the debate Councillor Stephen Hodgson, asked leader Councillor Adrian Gregson if he was prepared to field calls directly if there is a repeat.

"The recent failures of the telephone system meant many people just couldn't contact the council," he added.

Cllr Gregson said people could get in touch with him if the system goes down again.

Back on Thursday, January 2 the lines collapsed for two days due to problems with providers BT.

A second collapse two weeks later led to e-mails going down, as well as internet connections for 24 hours, and on Wednesday, February 26 phone lines again went down for two days.

The phone lines then went down for two days starting on Wednesday, March 26 due to a BT exchange failing.

That latest collapse affected the Guildhall and the main HQ Orchard House, as well as offices for staff in Copenhagen Street.

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