Type=image;ImageID=12318;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=Taking a look at the new reception area;TitleClass=strong;
Type=image;ImageID=12319;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=Cllr Johnson and Rachel Kynaston;TitleClass=strong;
Type=image;ImageID=12320;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=Cllr Johnson, Rachel Kynaston and Cllr Potter;TitleClass=strong;
A modern, bright open plan layout combined with the latest technologies allows dedicated staff to deal with customers face to face across a whole range of services in one convenient location. This replaces the multiple reception desks which used to exist for different departments and often confused people unfamiliar with the building.
Today's unveiling coincides with the main entrance of the Civic Centre reopening after a short temporary closure.
Via the new customer service centre, visitors will be able to access a wide range of the most popular services including information and advice on council tax and housing benefit as well as school admissions, blue badges, licensing and electoral registration.
The new centre will also offer a new 'state of the art' queue management system and coming in the next phase at the end of the summer, there will be self help kiosks for those customers who wish to complete their transactions through self serve quickly and easily.
Improving customer service and enhancing the customer experience is part of the way the council is transforming the way it does business. With an average of more than 400 customers visiting the council each day, the new customer service centre will be a professional and welcoming customer focused gateway to the organisation.
These latest improvements to the Civic Centre are part of the overall project to make the building fit for future use and reduce the overall costs of the council's buildings.
Councillor Andrew Johnson, cabinet member for resources, said: "It's great to see our new Customer Service Centre in action. It provides a much more suitable environment for visitors to the building and will improve the experience for our customers no end.
"Our work on the Civic Centre is ongoing, our contractors continue with essential repairs and maintenance that will save taxpayers £500,000 a year while improving our environment and ensuring the 40 year old building is sound.
"I'm pleased to say that any disruption has been minimal and our visitors have been really co-operative using the rear entrance to access the building for the past few weeks."
The essential repairs and maintenance programme got underway in March last year with the award winning refurbishment of the underground car park which was completed in September. Work commenced in May on extensive mechanical and electrical repairs on 3 floors inside the Civic Centre itself.
Outdated systems including electrics, heating and fire alarms which were at serious risk of breaking down are being replaced and asbestos is being removed. Office space is also being modernised to enable staff in outlying offices to move into the building.
The overall scheme will save taxpayers more than £500,000 a year by enabling the closure of outlying offices which are expensive to run and maintain. The programme is due to be completed by 2018.
- released: Monday 13 March, 2017