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Council cutbacks see Town Hall reception reduce hours from April

Posted on - 25th March, 2014 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - News, Politics, Preston Council

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A council service which deals with more than 41,000 visitors a year will operate for two hours less every weekday.

The contact centre at the Town Hall will now not open until 9am and close at 5pm.

Previously the staff would handle telephone enquiries and deal with people coming into the Town Hall with queries – and reply to emails.

Preston city council leader councillor Peter Rankin announced the reduced hours as part of budget cuts for 2014-15.

The council has to find £3.6 million of savings during the next three years, including 80 roles being made redundant.

Leader of Preston City Council, Councillor Peter Rankin, said: “Our face to face and telephone contact hours are being cut but this does not mean we are closing our doors to the public. I urge people to use other more cost effective means to contact the council such as the website.

“We have looked at what the most popular tasks are at the contact centre and made sure that they can be solved via our website, and they can.

“The council’s website has been nationally recognised as the best local authority website in Lancashire, and in the top 20 throughout the UK. Special mention was also given to the accessibility of the website, accommodating all our customers for whatever task they wish to perform.”

An enquiry through the website costs the council 15p each time, while dealing with someone at the Town Hall is £8.62 each time and a phone call query can cost up to £2.83 per time.

The changes come into force on Tuesday 1 April.

On Thursdays the contact centre doesn’t open until 10am due to staff training.

What do you think about the move to try and get residents to use virtual contact methods? Let us know your views in the comments below

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