Anyone who has had to ring up the DWP – and often ring them repeatedly since few problems are resolved with one phone call – will start to curse THAT music! That particularly tinny version of the first section of Vivaldi’s ‘Spring’ from the Four Seasons, played again and again and again… There was a Parliamentary petition in 2014, calling on the DWP to scrap it – though it can’t have been very well advertised as it only got 43 signatures, and it also features in Daniel Blake’s protest graffiti.
In 2012, a Mr Savage was frustrated enough to put in a Freedom of Information Request specifically about the choice of on-hold music. This is the response from the DWP:
‘The current DWP telephony system was introduced in 2006 and the on-hold music was agreed by a group of staff representing different contact centre operational areas across DWP at that time.
‘Selection of the on-hold track was influenced by the desire to obtain a cost-effective solution. The DWP telephony provider has a group wide licence to use the Vivaldi music, which means that it is free for DWP to use. If we had chosen to use another piece of music outside of the group wide licence, they would have had to obtain the licence for it, which would have cost DWP, and, ultimately, the taxpayer.
‘DWP does not have any plans to change the ‘on hold’ music.’
Perhaps they would like to rethink – or employ more people so you aren’t kept waiting for so long, or get things right in the first place so you don’t have to ring and get them sorted, or get rid of the whole stupid system and bring in Universal Basic Income. Meanwhile, perhaps they could apologise to everyone who has to be subjected to this – and also to Vivaldi, who must be turning in his grave.
(And yes – I have spent a large part of today, being sent from pillar to post on various DWP phone lines…)