First steps towards a more efficient city council

Next week Gloucester City Council customer service office will be reducing its opening hours and taking the next steps towards an online service, making it easier for residents. 

As part of the Together Gloucester project which saw the city council assess its structure, customer services will be gradually changing to an appointment based model.

The first step towards an online service is reducing the ‘drop in’ times at the Herbert Warehouse reception for certain enquiries.

As of Wednesday 14th June the reception will remain open 9am – 5pm for deliveries, payments and visitors. However, ‘drop in’ times for services will change to 10am – 4pm during the working week, which is the busiest time for the reception area.

The second phase of this transition will allow members of the public to book dedicated appointments with trained members of staff who can deal with their specific needs, thereby reducing waiting times.

In order to respond to customers quicker, the city council is also talking with its partners to discuss how the customer can go straight to them.

By effectively cutting out the city council as the ‘middle man’, residents will be able to speak directly to the service that they need. In turn, reducing the amount of time they have to wait for help.

Staff at the city council are currently being trained so that they can deal with all general customer enquires. By having multi-skilled people on the frontline, residents who do require customer services will have their queries answered first time.

Cllr Dave Norman, cabinet member for performance and resources at Gloucester City Council, said: “Our customers are very important to us. The council’s priority is to maximise access to our services so we are now working on improving electronic access 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That will enable us to focus resources on the small number of people who need face to face help . And because we will be delivering this face to face service to a smaller group of our more vulnerable customers we can do this better between 10-4pm, rather than stretching it over a longer day.

“The structure of our customer services hasn’t been changed for many years. It was time for us to take a step back and look at the way we work with our customers.

“This is the first step in our journey to transform our frontline support. We are also talking with our partners to ensure residents get answers first time which will mean residents won’t have to speak with several people before finding the help they’re looking for.”