Fenland District Council has embarked on an ambitious transformation programme to improve customer experience and make it even easier for people to interact with the council.
Work to provide more modern, efficient, and flexible ways to access services has been a council priority for some time, but the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and the rapid uptake of digital technologies has accelerated the pace of transformation.
Cllr Steve Tierney, the Council's Cabinet Member for Transformation, said: "It is important to us that people are able to access the council when they need help, either through the internet, by telephone or in person. More and more residents are choosing to engage with us online so we are increasing the automation of our digital services and the speed and ease with which our customers can access them.
"Not only does this give people greater choice and control over how they choose to interact with us, but it also allows us to focus on the needs of our most vulnerable customers who are more likely to need face-to-face support."
A new, single in-house customer services team can also respond to customer queries more efficiently, at the first point of contact, or offer a same day appointment wherever possible to offer more personalised support. These can either be over the phone or in-person at the Council's Customer Service Centres in March and Wisbech, and Community Hubs in Chatteris and Whittlesey.
"We are embarking on something new to ensure we can deliver needs led, easy to access customer services however people choose to contact us," added Cllr Tierney. "It's all about putting customers at the heart of what we do and delivering the right services, by the right people, at the right time, in the right place and at the right cost. We want to support people being able to access the Council when they need to, quickly and in whatever method suits them best."
The transformation project has also seen the introduction of PayPoint in July last year as a more convenient way for residents to pay Council bills, with more than £1million in payments made to date, and the launch of the Council's new website in August last year. The website, www.fenland.gov.uk, saw 969,000 hits in 2020/21 - up 35 per cent on the previous year.
New online forms have also been launched to increase self-service via the website, with more being developed, and the Council will soon introduce a live web chat service.
In-person, same day face-to-face appointments will continue to be available to anyone that needs them, in order that the Council supports everybody regardless of their circumstances.