Using the Freedom of Information Act 2000 we asked the BBC to provide us with information about the reliability of the TV Licensing website.
The website is the responsibility of hapless BBC contractor Capita Business Services Ltd, which currently holds the lucrative TV Licensing operations contract. Capita is contractually obliged to "ensure that the TVL websites is (sic) available at all times" and "ensure appropriate service ability and service to the customer".
According to TV Licensing the website handles 40,000 visitors a day and is available more than 99 percent of the time. That may be so, but it still falls short of being "available at all times" as required by the BBC.
We have previously noted that at the turn of every month - the very time when most TV licence transactions are taking place - there is a dramatic spike in the number of people complaining about the TV Licensing website on Twitter. This customer dissatisfaction is repeated virtually every month, as the website seemingly grinds to a halt under the strain of additional traffic.
Of course, just as you'd imagine, the BBC denies there is a problem. We thought we'd ask for the relevant information so that we could judge for ourselves.
The BBC provided the following information about the amount of time there was a full or partial outage of the TV Licensing website. Times are quoted in minutes.
2017 (to 30th January):
As you can see, there were several months where the TV Licensing website suffered considerable downtime.
The BBC attempted to downplay these figures by saying that the TV Licensing call centre was always on hand to respond to customer queries and assist with transactions. Given the call centre's limited opening hours (8.30 am - 6.30 pm weekdays, 8.30 am - 1 pm on Saturdays) that is not actually the case. Remember too that many people using the call centre are held in a lengthy queue and others are completely hung up on. It would appear that the BBC is truly deluded when it comes to evaluating the honesty, integrity and effectiveness of Capita.
We also asked the BBC to provide correspondence with Capita about reliability of the TV Licensing website, but it refused to do so on the basis that our request was too broad.
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