Council agrees plans to review customer services
14th March 2014
The Highland Council has agreed plans to implement a review of Customer Services.
The Council has agreed to spend £68,500 from the Strategic Change and Development Fund to enhance the Council’s web site so that the public can conduct more transactions online and the Service Centre, which handles phone queries from customers. This is to recognise the growing trend of customer contact by telephone and online.
It also agreed that for 15 months a cross-group Customer Services Board of 10 Members be established with full delegated powers to:
Undertake a rolling consultation of members, staff, partner agencies, and the public on the future of the Service Point network;
Consider customer service provision in each of the 23 communities with a Service Point not designated a Community Hub; and
Agree a future service delivery model in each such community.
Finally, the Council agreed that a report be submitted to a future meeting of the Resources Committee (formerly Finance Housing and Resources) on achieving the saving of £355,220, should the decisions of the Board leave the saving unmet.
Council Leader Drew Hendry said: “This plan clearly sets out how we are going to go about our review over the next 15 months. We will be consulting in each local community to find a solution that meets the needs of local people. The measures respond to the representations we have been receiving from the public, allowing us to go forward in a positive way.”
Depute Leader Councillor David Alston said: “Our aim is to allow members of the public to contact the Council in a way and at a time which suits them best: by phone, online, walk in face-to-face in some places, and face-to-face by appointment in others. We have already agreed a clear direction of travel, both in this Council and under the previous Administration. Our proposals will put in place additional safeguards to make sure that we get the right solution for every community.”
Convener Jimmy Gray said: “Our proposals allow us in the short-term to improve our web site and enhance the service we provide at the Service Centre while at the same time giving us time to consult with local people on a community by community basis.”
The Council has a legal duty to provide certain advice and information services on debt, welfare and housing for local residents. Employment rights advice is also provided but there is no statutory duty on the Council to provide this.
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The Leader of The Highland Council Councillor Margaret Davidson welcomed the First Minister's announcement of a Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund to deliver much needed improvements to tourist infrastructure to support the rising numbers of visitors to the Highlands. This comes the week after figures were published for August which showed Highland visitor attractions were performing 17% higher compared to August last year, a result that is backed by accounts from residents and businesses that the area has been hugely popular with visitors this season.
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Trading Standards are looking for young people to take part in test purchasing exercises. We want to find out which shops are breaking the law by selling age restricted products to young people under 18.
Caithness Civic leader Cllr Willie Mackay (centre) cuts the tape at the opening of the newly refurbished half mile Killimster Moss stretch of the B876 Wick to Thurso road. Looking on are some of the Highland council workers praised for the project which was done on time and within budget.
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A chance to have your say. Voters are being invited to have their say on a review of polling places throughout the Highland Council area The Council has today (Monday 2 October 2017) launched a consultation over its review of election polling districts and polling places.
The Scottish Government is allocating £1 million to improve school libraries over the next three years. Launched today by the Deputy First Minister, the School Library Improvement Fund will be open for education authorities to apply for funding on behalf of school libraries in their area.
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