After a 15 month process the Highland Council has now concluded its Customer Service Review. This is the announcement made earlier this week.
SERVICE POINT REVIEW
THIRTY-TWO customer contact points will be provided in a revised model of service provision, following a consultation with communities.
The Customer Service Board met on Monday 25 May to consider the feedback to the consultation and options for the future of the service points. The final decision was delegated by Highland Council to the Board, in March 2014, provided they could meet the objectives, including finding the agreed level of savings.
Since then, the Board has reviewed a significant amount of information to enable elected members to make a final decision.
There are currently 35 Service Points and the revised model will include 32 customer contact points providing a range of services through 22 service points and 10 library access points. The decision also delivers the £160,000 savings agreed by Council.
The model retains 18 Highland Council managed Service Points, 2 High Life Highland Partnership Service Points, 10 Access Points (located in Libraries) and the retention of Service Point offices in Invergordon and Grantown, on a reduced hours basis. Three Service Points, Durness, Acharacle and Hilton, will close.
Library Service Points will provide a range of services including general advice and information; confidential meeting places; booking appointments for Registrations and other critical services; access to digital facilities and support.
Chair of the Customer Services Board, Cllr Audrey Sinclair said: “We have listened to the views of communities and service users and we have tried to retain as wide a network of services as possible within the financial restraints.
“The Board Members and staff have worked through a number of models to maximise the service as far as possible. We will now have a network of 32 customer contact point with varying levels of service, but each will provide face to face contact, which is clearly important to customers. We have also identified business support work which can be carried out in quieter locations.
“We are aware that this has been a very lengthy process and this will have been of concern to Service Point staff and communities. All the staff have been briefed, as a priority, as soon as the decision was made and we will be working closely with the Trade Unions and HR teams to minimise the impact on staff.
“I would like to thank the public and the staff for their responses to the consultation. These responses emphasised the value people place on Service Points in their communities.”
The decisions of the Board in detail are below:
The Board agreed to retain Kyle Service Point due to the increase in customer contact volumes.
With the public and community consultation informing the review process, the potential for moving office work to quieter Service Points was also explored and The Board have agreed that 5 additional Service Points; Fort Augustus, Gairloch, Dornoch, Kingussie and Lochinver will be retained as per current provision.
The Board also explored further partnership opportunities and as such agreed to the retention of Bettyhill and Broadford Service Points, as per current provision, but under direct management of High Life Highland, and the TUPE transfer of staff in these service points to HLH.
Based on the feedback from the Consultation, the Board also agreed that Invergordon and Grantown Service Points would be remain open on a reduced opening hours basis for 2 half days per week each, with library staff providing some services on the other days
Library Access Points will provide a range of services including general advice and information; confidential meeting places; booking appointments for Registrations and other critical services; access to digital facilities and support
3 Service Points will close. These are Durness, Acharacle and Hilton.