Vale of White Horse District Council, part of a shared service with South Oxfordshire District Council, has expanded its existing contract with Capita to deliver face-to face customer services and enhanced self-service facilities on-site via kiosks and dedicated free-phone telephone lines for housing benefit and council tax queries (view press release).
Customers using the self-service facilities at Vale of White Horse District Council reception will now be able to view the Council’s website for information, make payments online, make a claim for housing and council tax benefit and notify the benefits services of a change of circumstance. A dedicated customer advisor will also be available to assist customers in using the self-service terminals. A traditional appointment system will be available for those individuals with more complex or urgent queries.
Cllr Matthew Barber, leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “People who have limited access to the internet at home can now make updates and find information for themselves in our reception area, rather than waiting for an appointment. Help is also available if anyone needs assistance to guide them through the process. This will not only offer more flexibility to our residents, but will ultimately reduce some of the administrative burden for the council and allow us to spend more time resolving complex cases or help people who need additional support.”
David Dodds, cabinet member for finance at South Oxfordshire District Council, commented: “Capita has supported our shared service operation with Vale for a number of years. An important objective of this partnership is to cut costs without impacting on the quality of service we deliver. Therefore it made sense to consolidate our switchboard services while ensuring that both councils maintain their individual autonomy and residents continue to receive a tailored service.”
Giles Reid, sales director, Capita’s local government services business, said: “Creating digital services that are convenient and compelling to use will mean that those people who can access them will choose them over any other more expensive method. It is a positive step for these councils to recognise the benefits of self-service not only to their customers, but also to their own organisations as they seek to gain efficiencies and cut costs. Added to the shared switchboard service, the councils are clearly showing real commitment in achieving more for less and Capita will continue to support them as they find new ways of working more efficiently together.”
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