National Ombudsman, Reinier van Zutphen, has received an incredible number of complaints from students and former students in recent months, he wrote. They often had to wait thirty minutes to an hour in a hold queue and are sometimes not helped at all: they simply hear a message to call back later, after which DUO disconnects the call.
The Ombudsman was critical of the long queues in 2017 too. The then Education Minister, Bussemaker, had hoped things would improve following the launch of the new DUO IT system. Her successor, Van Engelshoven, also expected a considerable reduction in waiting times. After all, on the new MijnDUO website, students are supposed to be able to arrange everything themselves, so they shouldn’t need to call so often.
The Ombudsman has not noticed any of the anticipated improvements. Even DUO itself admitted at the end of August that the queues were extremely long in the busy summer period. Not only were there too few employees, a spokesperson explained, the staff needed to get used to the new computer system, which also had various teething problems.
The Ombudsman wants to know within four weeks what the Minister intends to do about this. Politicians are also demanding this. The House of Representatives asked the Minister to provide urgent answers to questions posed previously in the House. “This problem just won’t go away”, stated SP Member of Parliament Futselaar. “Enough is enough.”