Anecdotal evidence is useful, if a bit unreliable. But it can help to substantiate the numbers and provide a context. And sometimes it can lead you to ask questions.

Here is an example. I recently moved and have a new work telephone number. Right from the off I started receiving odd calls asking if I was the Job Centre. Maybe one or two a week.

Initially I thought I had been gifted a redundant line by BT, but I later discovered that the reason was down to some people transposing a 96 for a 69 in the middle of the number. Easily done.

But what has been particularly interesting is the steady increase in the number of calls I receive each week.

It is 11:47 am and I have received three so far today and this is not extraordinary for the pasts week or so. Yesterday I received four in total.

What am I to make of this?

There may have been an increase in the proportion of misdials.

But more likely, if I have been receiving a relatively representative sample, there has been a vast increase in the number of people calling the Job Centre over the past 6 months.

In which case, either the Job Centre is offering more services or many, many more people are wanting the services of the Job Centre.

Maybe I should call and find out.