UK prisoners to challenge Indian call centres?
Posted on: 05:09 AM IST Aug 11, 2012
London: An innovative scheme to use prisoners with genuine British accents in call centres inside UK jails is being considered by the Ministry of Justice as part of its work programme for prisoners.
One of the consumer complaints against British companies who have call centres in India has been that Indian workers sometimes do not understand the many regional British accents of callers, resulting in errors.
There are reports that some British companies have closed down call centres in India following such complaints, while others highlight the fact that their call centres are within the UK and that their customers can rest assured of a speedy and efficient service.
According to The Guardian, a company supported by the Ministry of Justice called the call centre scheme a "rehabilitation revolution", but the ministry said the company was no longer involved in the programme after it had filed for liquidation recently.
However, a ministry spokesperson said "Prisoners who learn the habit of real work inside prison are less likely to commit further crime when they are released.
"For that reason the Prisons Service is looking at a number of potential schemes to increase work opportunities in prisons".
The spokesperson added: "All contracts with outside employers must comply with a strict code of practice which sets out that prisoners cannot be used to replace existing jobs in the community.
"Prisoner wages, for those in closed prisons, are set by prison governors and companies have no control over the level of payment".
Using British prisoners in call centres in jails may work, but some raise worries about safety of data. Under the call centre scheme, prisoners may be paid 3 pounds per day.