The council’s face to face customer service centre, MyCouncil, on the High Street will not be reopened after lock down, the council announced today (20 May 2020)
Since March 2020, MyCouncil has been closed, as part of the council’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, but prior to this, a decision had already been made to close MyCouncil in early summer.
Instead of MyCouncil, the council will be opening local access points in local neighbourhoods – initially at Langley, Cippenham and Britwell Libraries – where people who really need to see our customer services or housing teams face to face can make an appointment to pop in.
The move is part of the transformation of the council; an on-going programme which is improving and modernising council systems, processes and interactions with residents, placing resources where they are most needed and making it easier for people to access the services they need.
Joe Carter, director of transformation, said: “The change in the way people have been contacting us has dramatically changed since lockdown began; with many residents who used to come and see us finding how much easier it is and just how much they can do online or over the phone.
“But we know there are residents who can’t contact us online or may need extra help and we want to free up our face to face advisors for those who need this the most.
“So our message is, don’t go backwards, continue to do it online or on the phone as you have been during lockdown and now, if you do need to see us face to face you can make an appointment and you will not have to travel into the town centre to do so.”
Other local access points are being planned for neighbourhoods, including Chalvey.
Unlike MyCouncil, the Local Access Points will not be taking cash payments - but residents and businesses can still pay for many services online and council tax or rent can also be paid over the phone and in cash at post offices or any PayZone outlet.
Joe added: “Online there is a portal to pay council tax, rent or business rates and for benefits, and more than 70 ways to report issues.
“For example, you no longer need to bring in original documents as evidence for benefits
or council tax support claims – they can be submitted electronically at any time of the day or night.
“And with a new website going live in the autumn, dealing with us online will become even easier.”
A letter with information on the new arrangements is being sent to all households in the borough.
There is no specific date for the opening of the local access points due to the covid-19 situation.