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The management of call centre performance relies heavily on queuing theory work first carried out by Erlang in the early 20th century and much elaborated since. But this approach requires copious and detailed forecasting of future demand and resources and while it is excellent for short term performance management HMRC has found it less suitable for medium to long term performance planning of their call centres. Part of the problem, which any call centre under pressure faces, is it is difficult to establish how much demand the call centre has to handle. The work described here outlines a novel way of measuring the real demand faced by a call centre. This measure turns out to be intimately related to the performance of a call centre and allows the building of extremely accurate models of medium to long term call centre performance. HMRC adopted this model for managing call centre performance from April 2011 and, with the assistance of the improved understanding of demand and performance the model brings, went from handling 48% of calls in 2010-11 to handling 74% of call in 2011-12. This performance has been sustained in 2012-13 with performance in the later part of the year regularly achieving 90% + calls handled. The model was the primary tool supporting the recent decision to reprioritize £34m of HMRC funding into contact centre investment at a time of austerity in Government financing.