Friday, 19 January 2007

Better Value Customer Services

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council is to invest £161,000 creating 13 new jobs in its Contact Centre after monitoring showed take up of public access services is up by almost a third.

In May 2004, there was an average of 18,500 calls a month to the Council's newly-created Contact Centre and 2,000 visitors to One Stop Shops.

The service has been so successful that nearly 24,000 people call the Contact Centre a month and over 3,000 visit the One Stop Shops.

Opening hours at the One Stop Shops in Eston, Guisborough and Redcar are also being realigned. Although visits have almost doubled, take up on Saturdays remains minimal.

In October 2006, for example, 3,644 people used the One Stop Shop service. But only 12 of those visits took place on Saturdays. So staff are being switched to meet demand elsewhere.

The Council's Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources, Councillor Glyn Nightingale, said: "The Contact Centre and One Stop Shops have been a real success with the public, with increasing numbers of people now choosing to use them to get in touch with the Council. We're committed to making it as easy as possible for people to get the service they need. That's why we're continuing our investment in the service.

"The pilot Saturday opening has shown there's only a limited demand for One Stop Shops at weekends. By switching resources to times and options that the public prefer, we can offer a better service when people actually need it.

"People are now increasingly realising that it's easy to use a wide range of new ways to contact the Council - web cams in libraries, email - as well as the 'phone and in writing.

"By re-aligning the hours of the One Stop Shops and investing in 13 extra staff we can deliver an excellent service as and when people need it."

The One Stop Shops are currently open from 9am until 5pm, Monday to Friday and 9am until 1pm on Saturdays at Redcar and Cleveland Town Hall, Eston; Belmont House, Guisborough and Redcar and Cleveland House, Redcar.

The One Stop Shop will cease to open on Saturdays from April 1, when the new staff will be in post in the Contact Centre.

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