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21st Century Council - Ambitious approach to customer service

21st Century Council - Ambitious approach to customer service

13 June 2018

At its meeting last month (31 May) Wokingham Borough Council’s decision-making executive heard an update on its ambitious 21st Century Council Programme.


Cllr Charles Margetts, deputy executive member for finance and corporate resources, said:  “We’re changing the ways we approach customer service, but not our level of service or dedication to our residents. This is forming a large part of our overall plans to provide better and transparent customer service, as we become leaner, and more efficient, costing less to run.”


The council is developing a new directorate called Customer and Localities, which will see more existing staff relocated into customer facing roles to handle frontline queries in a new, quicker and more efficient way.


The elements of the services moving into the new Customer and Localities directorate will go live in a phased sequence starting in the summer.


Following this, residents can expect to see customer enhancements, which are part of a whole raft of improvements to help customers interact more easily with the council. Regular updates will happen as changes go live, and the council will let residents know what and when to expect a change. Keep an eye on the council’s website (www.wokingham.gov.uk) and social media platforms for more details.


New improvements will include:

  • Improved customer account facility

  • Council Tax online service

  • Benefit online service

  • Housing online service

  • Ability to manage and track planning applications online

  • Online booking for services e.g registrars 

  • Improved online highways reporting, tracking and information

Some of the new technology is in place right now, and residents might have already used it, including:

  • School admissions online

  • Blue badges online

  • New modern mapping software

  • New planning ‘search’ facility and planning map search facility

  • New online payment system including contactless and app pay facilities across the borough


Cllr Margetts added:  “Although we want to make 24/7 a workable option for all those who need it, we’re committed to helping guide people through self-service, and offering face-to-face support as well.


“This means you get to decide when you interact, at a time that suits you, and there is still expert advice on hand.


“Don’t forget, we’re also planning to set up local hubs which will mean additional points of contact for residents. We are also looking at creating local hubs in relevant locations, to give additional contact points for residents. As our borough covers a wide area, it makes sense to have local hubs so that residents don’t have to travel as far for day to day queries.”


Residents can sign up to the council’s online customer account to access a range of services at: https://selfservice.wokingham.gov.uk/login



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