A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Journeycall's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Journeycall is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Managing Director Theresa
We are Scotland’s
largest transport-
centric contact centre
Journeycall is one of the three leading organisations which
comprise the ESP Group. The conglomerate is dedicated
to making life simple – whether it’s getting a travelcard
to customers, having someone on the end of the phone or
responding to online chat enquiries. The team is driven by
supporting passengers and travellers during every stage of their
journey. Journeycall itself is an award-winning, specialist contact
centre based in Arbroath, Scotland, founded in 2003 and led by
Managing Director Theresa Slevin. Its team provides customer
support services to a variety of market sectors, including issuing
and supporting Oyster and other transport smartcard schemes on
behalf of Transport for London, London Councils Freedom Pass and
Rail Delivery Group, among many other bus and trainoperators.
We are Scotland’s largest transport-centric contact centre, and we offer services
including customer support channels such as voice, email, white mail, web chat,
social media activity, video calling and SMS to meet passengers’ needs. We work
from a state-of-the-art, 350-seat, 22,500-square foot contact centre and operate 24
hours a day, 365 days a year, to support passengers on every step of their journey.
Our support services
One of our largest and most successful avenues of work after voice contacts has
been compensation services. In 2016, we developed our own fully automated delay
»Managing Director: Theresa
»Established in 2003
»Based in Arbroath, Scotland
»Services: Contact centre
customer service expertise
»No. of employees: 371
»UK-leading transport-centric
contact centre
Highlighting best practice
compensation system, DelayCheck, to
meet new consumer rights regulations.
This system streamlines and fully
manages delay verification, repayments
and correspondence to ease the
difficulties faced by operators when
We offer an enquiry and telesales
service for a variety of operators and
retailers, where our expertise is made
evident through our advisers’ ability
to adapt and confidently operate
numerous complex systems while
delivering high-quality service. We also
provide dedicated customer service,
smartcard and mobile ticketing support
alongside aftersales services for bus
and train operators, rail retailers, TfL,
RDG and other London councils.
Throughout these processes, we
encourage customers to make use of
our online systems; in May 2014, we
introduced online retail for Disabled
Persons Railcards. This soon saw 65 per
cent of the cards purchased through
this online platform, from an original
base of zero, making it easier and
more convenient for users.
These are just some examples of the
services we provide for a vast range of
clients, with others including assisted
travel, refund issuance and dedicated
customer relations.
No compromise on quality
and security
As so much of our work is
customer-facing, we place quality
and the customer experience at
the heart of our operations. Our
quality management system is ISO
9001-accredited, and we employ
a dedicated team consisting of 16
learning and development agents
working alongside five fully certified
internal auditors across the business.
All team members undertake
a rigorous training programme
during induction to ensure they
achieve excellence in every aspect of
We also recognise the importance of
data security. Considering we handle
massive amounts of customer data,
we make it an absolute priority to
remain compliant with the appropriate
legislation, which came into force
last year. We are registered with the
Data Protection Act, work to the EU’s
GDPR regulations and are PCI DSS level
1-accredited – the highest level.
In keeping with our dedication to both
quality and security, we have invested
heavily in technology over the past
few years. This has included a new
cloud-based telephone system, which
provides state-of-the-art multimedia
customer interactions and allows
us to record 100 per cent of calls
utilising PCI-compliant software. This
ensures that we can respond quickly to
customers and process their needs in
a streamlined and efficient way, all the
while demonstrating a commitment
to operational excellence, which will
continue to underpin future training.
Global industry: ever-
In continually changing economic,
political and technological landscapes,
the transport industry is faced with
numerous challenges which impact the
We work from a state-
of-the-art 350-seat
22,500-square foot
contact centre
Our expertise is
made evident
through our
advisers’ ability
to adapt and
systems while
delivering high-
quality service
delivery of service. Brexit, for instance,
will certainly alter travel options for
passengers over the coming years, with
travelcard prices set to increase as a
result of trade restrictions.
The Oyster card recently celebrated its
15th anniversary, but with technology
and contactless travel payments
coming to the forefront, we are seeing
more pressure than ever on transport
and mobility organisations to adapt
to these services while still delivering
the support that passengers require
throughout theirjourneys.
Authorities and operators across
the UK are working tirelessly to
make travel easier. Not everyone is
benefiting, however – in large part
thanks to a lack of awareness and
concerns about ease of use.
In our latest Easy Travel Index survey,
we found that 30 per cent of people
who required assistance to travel by
rail did not request help from the train
operating company because they felt
uncomfortable doing so, and 22 per
cent did not even know that passenger
assistance existed.
Realising positive changes
There are so many initiatives to support
passengers when it comes to public
transport and other forms of travel –
even when things go wrong. These
include new forms of payment and
smartphone apps, as well as other
services to assist those who need
further help.
The impact of these services,
however,is being constrained thanks
to a lack of understanding among
the general public: regular users
may understand and use services,
but occasional or new users are still
somewhat uncertain. Technology
can help, but it’s noteverything;
people still want and need support,
and especially voice support. Our
co-designing sessions for recent
project delivery have made this a key
deliverable for the transport of the
future. Passengers are clear – voice is
still king.
Going forward, we see a need for
human support to be blended with
new technology, and initiatives such as
DelayCheck and NaviGoGo – a travel
planning, booking and payment app
co-designed by young people – will
help to both combat these issues and
provide solutions for travel anxiety.
There are endless opportunities for the
future of travel, and we’re committed
as an organisation to making these
changes a reality for people across
As so much of
our work is
facing, we place
quality and the
experience at
the heart of our
Our latest Easy Travel
Index survey found
that 22 per cent of
passengers did not know
that travel assistance
existed – we aim to
change that

This article was sponsored by Journeycall. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy