When the British government launched the Service Transformation Agreement in October 2007,
it was followed by a further document National Indicators for Local Authorities and Local Authority Partnerships: Handbook of definitions – Draft for Consultation:
which includes a six page definition of NI14 which defines ‘avoidable contact: the average number of customer contacts per resolved request. Government see this as a method of managing ‘demand failure’ by expecting councils to measure both the number of customer contacts and the number of contact requests for a range of services contacted by face-to-face, email, ‘phone or web. The number of contacts is then divided by the number of resolved customer requests to produce a number. Good performance is claimed to be typified by a lower number and a falling series of numbers is claimed to indicate reducing avaoidable contact and impring service.
During the consultation period, a number of issues were raised about this as an indicator but the concept of ‘avoidable contact’ was not offered for debate.