THE county council has announced it is pulling out of an eight-and-a-half-year customer service contract because calls plummeted by more than half.

Worcestershire County Council plans to end its contract with IT specialists Civica which ran the Worcestershire Hub – which handled calls for the county council, as well as Worcester City Council and Malvern Hills District Council.

The Worcestershire Hub handled tens of thousands of calls every month on top of the thousands of online enquiries and visits for a variety of services including Blue Badge applications, free bus passes and permits for commercial waste

Malvern Hills District Council officially pulled out of the contract in February following a massive drop in calls and Worcester City Council has already agreed to do the same has given Civica a year’s notice that it would be leaving the contract.

The eight-and-a-half-year contract was handed over to Civica in 2015 and was expected to save the council at least £1.8 million and up to £2.6 million a year, but calls dropped by more than 50 per cent last year – falling to just over 127,500. Face-to-face appointments also dropped by more than a third.

The contract cost around £1,040,000 a year to the three councils with the county council putting up around half of the funding.

The decision to leave by Worcester City Council and Malvern Hills District Council meant the contract was no longer value for money.

The council has made the move to bring the service back in-house as some specialist areas already deal with complex enquiries.

Services such as the Family Front Door which is used to make referrals to children’s services – are already up-and-running and has also contributed to general calls falling to the Worcestershire Hub.