Regulator revises Contact Centre hours

(Immediate Release - 29th March 2010)

The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, is revising its Contact Centre opening hours to 8am until 6pm, Monday to Friday. The Contact Centre has been operating extended hours since 2007, but it has been receiving only a very small number of calls outside of normal office hours.

From 1 April 2010, the Contact Centre’s new opening hours will be 8am until 6pm Monday to Friday. The current, extended hours (6pm until 8pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 1pm on Saturday) account for only 3% of the 200,000 calls which the Contact Centre takes each year. Analysis of the content of these calls shows that many customer questions could be answered by using the online Knowledge Base, available at www.charitycommission.gov.uk.

For the small number of charities and members of the public who call the Contact Centre outside of the new opening hours, voice-messaging will direct them to the website and online Knowledge Base.

Andrew Hind, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission said:

"Having trialled the longer Contact Centre opening hours and finding that only 3% of calls come during the extended hours, making this change is a responsible use of our resources. Charity trustees, employees and members of the public can go online 24 hours a day to email us, access the Register of Charities, and use the online services and all the information available on our website. Where people still need to speak to a trained adviser, they can continue to call us between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday."

To contact the Charity Commission, go to www.charitycommission.gov.uk to send an email, or call the Contact Centre on 0845 3000 218 from 8am until 6pm, Monday to Friday.

For further information on this story please contact the press office

PR 27/10

Notes to Editors

1. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. See www.charitycommission.gov.uk for further information or call our contact centre on 0845 300 0218.

2. Our mission is: to ensure charities’ legal compliance, enhance charities’ accountability, encourage charities’ effectiveness and impact and to promote the public interest in charity.

3. The Contact Centre receives over 200,000 calls every year, 80% of which are answered within 30 seconds. The Contact Centre gives priority to trustees and representatives of charities and resolves 90% of enquiries at the first point of contact.

Facilities available include access for hearing and speech impaired callers and a telephone interpreting service covering over 150 languages.

4. There are over 4 million visitors a year to the Charity Commission’s website at www.charitycommission.gov.uk.

5. The Commission’s website provides a range of online services for charities, including options to submit accounts, update details and file Annual Returns.

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