Wokingham Borough Council is making improvements to the services it delivers to its residents.
Some of these will be visible, like improved leisure facilities or new schools, designed to make a difference for many years. Other changes are behind the scenes in the shape of technology improvements to help the way residents interact with important services.
The council has updated its Customer Account page with 25,851 residents using the service. There are a few new sections which can be accessed directly from the homepage, and people can find out useful information about schools, and bin collections. Sign up on Wokingham Borough Council's website.
Option for 24/7 self-service
The council wants to make 24/7 self-service a realistic option for those who want it.
It also wants to become more efficient, costing significantly less to run. Some changes have already been introduced with success, making residents’ lives easier. During the last 12 months the council has changed how people can apply for blue badges, making the experience quicker and more user friendly. Gone are the lengthy eight-week waits for a decision. Now, online, a response is given instantly.
More improvements coming
And other improvements are coming. Over the next few months, residents will find a new online portal for revenue services, such as council tax and business rates. Planning software has been upgraded and it’s now easier to search for applications or use the interactive map to pinpoint incidents which need resolving.
The borough council covers a wide area, and it needs to find ways to help residents, without them needing to always come to Shute End. Therefore it will be setting up locality hubs, run by area managers. Traditional, and frequently asked, queries can be dealt with locally freeing up time, and allowing staff to concentrate resources in the right way.
Cllr Charles Margetts, deputy executive member for finance, 21st Century Council, internal services and human resources, said: “Wokingham Borough Council is leading the way nationally with an IT-led transformation that will improve the customer experience and make it easier for everybody to get the services they want, and at a time and place which suits them.
“With busy lives, and demanding jobs many people prefer to tackle everyday tasks at a time that suits them. At the same time, speaking to someone face to face is still an option for those who require that.”
Other improvements which are coming relate to highways (residents will be able to see all upcoming planned works via a map), and income and assessments.