In 2010, we handled 280,000 queries from the public. The queries came via e-mail, phone and in person. Even though we received more queries than in the previous year, we managed to reduce the waiting time. Towards the end of 2010, users had to wait for an average of five minutes to speak to us on the phone. By comparison, the average waiting time in 2009 was 17 minutes. An important reason for the reduction is that, after waiting a few minutes, callers were given the option to have us call them back as soon as we had a free member of staff. Due to the reduced waiting time, users more frequently received an answer the first time they contacted us and did not have to contact us several times through several channels.
In 2010, we also held several open information meetings about the regulations. The offer to speak with a case officer was particularly popular. An important explanation for the many enquiries is probably that we still have long case processing times, and that many people need to speak to us about the status of their application.