Modernisation plan for SKDC Customer Services

The Coronavirus lockdown has prompted South Kesteven District Council to offer residents another chance to comment on plans to modernise its Customer Services provision in Stamford and Market Deeping.

Public consultation on proposed changes took place earlier in the year, however the impact of lockdown has dramatically changed how people are accessing Customer Services and how the service is provided.

The Cabinet Member for Communities, Cllr Annie Mason, said: "The Coronavirus pandemic is changing the way many things are done, some of which may never return to how they were before,and this consultation will reflect that."

Results from the initial consultation will also be incorporated into the proposals for how Customer Services are accessed at SKDC's area offices in Stamford and Market Deeping.

The aim is to ensure the views of those who have engaged with the council differently during the pandemic, and those of other key stakeholders, are all considered.

The consultation opened today (Monday, 20 July) and runs for two weeks. It will take account of changes that have occurred in the way Customer Services are provided as a result of the Coronavirus, and the impact that has had on the behaviour of customers.

In Stamford plans include a self-service kiosk to take payments in Stamford Arts Centre, initial face-to-face support for people who need help to adapt to any new system, along with provision of a face-to-face adviser at busy times. Customers will be able to use dedicated direct dial phones to contact the Customer Services team.

In Market Deeping a self-service kiosk would also be provided at a central location to be agreed.

If residents want or need to speak to someone face-to-face, they will still be able to do so at the centres in Grantham or Bourne.

The Customer Services team received 42,675 phone calls from March 23 to July 10, compared to 38,416 for the same period last year, and 8,225 emails compared with 3,408 for the same period last year. There have been no requests for face-to-face appointments since the option was reinstated.

Cllr Mason said: "Evidence shows that there has been a change in how and when customers want to be able to access council services, with more people going online to get the information they need.

"By looking at what customers want and modernising our service we can meet changing demands, improve our service, and make better use of taxpayers' money."

To take part in the consultation go to www.southkesteven.gov.uk/csjuly2020 Anyone without internet access should call 01476 406080 and a Customer Services Advisor will complete the survey with them over the phone.