A man criticised Harrow Council’s customer service system after he struggled to report his 85-year-old mother’s missing bus pass.

Mark Brown said it was wrong of the council to assume older people would be able to lodge enquiries online and that it is difficult to find relevant information, whether through a computer or over the phone.

It came after his mother went to Harrow’s one-stop shop to request a replacement for a lost Freedom Pass and was told to report this through the council’s website.

Mr Brown explained that he eventually found a relevant number, but that his mother would have found this “impossible” given the lack of direction on the site.

He said he ran into further issues with the number – “the line was dead” – and, only after speaking with a switchboard operator, was he told that Freedom Pass requests could solely be lodged online.

“I feel strongly that the telephone number should remain operational for dealing with enquiries from or on behalf of elderly people to report on lost freedom passes because, in general, Harrow Council should not assume that elderly people are able to go online to deal with their affairs,” he said.

He acknowledged the impact of Covid-19 on council services but suggested this could be a real issue for many residents in the borough.

A spokesperson for Harrow Council explained that lost Freedom Passes should be reported to London Councils on 0300 330 1433, where there is a £12 replacement fee.