Shropshire Star

Shropshire Council customer service centre hours cut to start next week

Cuts in the hours operated by Shropshire Council's customer services centre will come into force from next week.

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The hours will change from Monday

The changes will kick in from Monday, August 21, with the council saying the cuts will create "more time for targeted, outbound calling to boost preventative work".

Currently the centre operates from 8am-6pm Monday to Friday, and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

From Monday the new opening times will be 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday, with extended opening until 6pm on a Monday for a three-month trial period.

The council has said it wants to encourage more people to use online services.

The change follows a public consultation earlier this year and an agreement by the council’s cabinet on July 19.

However, some parts of the call centre handle complex issues such as adult social care requests and queries, concerns for children, risk of homelessness or financial crisis affecting families.

The council said that those types of contact from people will always need a skilled adviser and will not change.

The authority said the reduction in hours would allow it to "free up capacity to make more targeted outbound calls to vulnerable residents, with the aim of preventing people from falling into crisis".

Robert Macey, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for culture and digital, said: “The new opening times are a reasonable compromise, which would allow us to redirect CSC [customer services centre] resources towards more outbound calls.

“We have seen that these calls targeted to those most likely to need help can make a huge difference to a person’s health and wellbeing, and can avoid much more complicated interventions further down the line for the council and partners.

“More and more people are now requesting these non-urgent services online and we need to encourage even more people to do so because it’s simpler, quicker and more efficient. As well as improving outcomes for customers, this approach will help us to make spending reductions and save much-needed resources."

Councillor Macey added: “The CSC will remain open at its busiest times each weekday for those who want to speak to an adviser, while allowing us to redirect some advisers’ time to target those who need support and where it can make a huge difference.”

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