Call Recording Within a CIS

Introducing Call Recording on Cancer Research UK’s CIS Telephone Service

Cancer Research UK

Many of our ICISG members already record all calls to their helplines.  But for those of you that don’t, I thought it might be interesting to describe our experience so far.

Historically, rather than recording all calls, we have sampled calls twice a year for quality assurance purposes.  Using a call assessment tool developed by the nurses themselves we assess the accuracy and tone of the calls and provide feedback to the nurses.  Our rational for not recoding all calls was a concern that it may discourage callers with deeply personal or sensitive issues from ringing us.  There were also issues with data protection.

Recently we decided to review our position and to introduce call recording.  Our stance has changed for a number of reasons.  Firstly most helplines across the commercial and charity sector in the UK record calls which has normalised it with the UK public.  So our belief is that it will not discourage people from calling us.   We are also confident that with current IT technology it can be set up in a way that the recordings are stored securely.

Our reasons for wanting to record calls are:

  • To enable us to give individual performance feedback to the nurses on calls they have taken. We will use this to reinforce good practice and identify practice that could be improved
  • To enable the nurses to listen to their own calls and review and reflect on their practice
  • To help us with training new staff
  • To enable other key people within the charity to understand more about what the helpline does and the value we bring
  • To allow us to respond in detail to any complaints received by the service

There are several things we needed to consider before starting call recording.  Firstly our IT department needed to select a system that they were confident was secure.  We also needed to think through how long we wanted to keep the recordings before deletion.  We can’t see any advantage in keeping the recordings indefinitely and from a data protection point of view it is important not to keep personal information once there is no longer a valid use for it.  Also there are costs associated with having adequate IT storage space to house recordings.  So we have decided to keep recordings for a year and then delete them.

We have a duty to let our users know that their conversation will be recorded and what the purpose is.  To address this, all callers to the helpline will hear a recorded message before they get through to a nurse informing them that calls are being recorded.  This gives callers the option to discontinue the call if they wish.  We will also amend the privacy statement on our website to describe in more detail why calls are being recoded and who will be listening to them.

We hope to introduce the system within the next few weeks and I am looking forward to working with my team to refresh our call assessment tool and develop a schedule for regularly monitoring and providing feedback.

Martin Ledwick Head Information Nurse Cancer Research UK