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BT has paid over a million pounds to the Ministry of Defence for faking performance figures in one of its call centres.

The telco had several targets to hit, one of which was how long it took to answer, and successfully complete calls. If it failed to answer calls within a certain time they lost out on payments. In order to bring down average times staff in the call centre resorted to calling each other, and presumably answering the phone pretty damn quickly.

The scam was not discovered by performance management systems, but was uncovered later by BT. MoD police also investigated the fraud. The call centre in Kettering has now been closed and "certain BT staff involved in the activities of Kettering call centre have been released".

BT agreed to pay £1.02m in retrospective service payments, the £122,000 cost of the external investigation and £197,000 for the overstated calls. The figures were revealed in a National Audit Office report last night.

Management at call centres for the Defence Fixed Telecommunications project has been changed, and BT has to provide more detailed reports.

A BT spokesman said: "This is an old incident that has been covered in the media many times over the past two years. The staff involved were sacked a long time ago by BT and new measures are in place to the customer's satisfaction."

The full report is here (81 page pdf).®

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