New network will give residents easy access to council services

News background

Residents across the district will soon be able to access council services in their own communities through a hi-tech network of easy-to-use screens. 

The system will be ideal for people who can't resolve their query using the council’s website.  

The vast majority of customer contacts the council receives are made online by people using personal devices in their own home. By contrast, only around three per cent of customer enquiries come through the council’s reception at Penns Place. 

Our new network will give residents the chance to speak to a council officer without having to travel to Petersfield. At convenient and accessible locations, residents will be able to discuss their issues directly with an officer, receive the support and assistance they need and conduct their business with the council in a professional and discreet manner. 

Locations are yet to be agreed, although libraries, housing associations, town and parish councils and other community-centred facilities will be likely hosts.  

With more ways to contact the council, residents will not have to travel across the district to meet officers face-to-face, saving them money and further reducing the council’s environmental impact. 

We recognise that there will be some residents who are unable to access online services or to travel to one of the dedicated locations, so the council will ensure there is a 'safety net' to support them.  We will, where appropriate, arrange a visit by the relevant team specialists or a call from a Case Management officer.    

The scheme, agreed by Cabinet last night and by the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 8 February, is set to replace the fully-staffed offices that were closed at the outbreak of the Covid pandemic.  

Cllr Adeel Shah, Portfolio Holder for Community Development and Engagement, said: “The most important thing is making our services readily-available to our residents. 

“Most people can get what they need from the council’s website, but that doesn’t suit everyone. This new network will give people the opportunity they need to contact the council with confidence and convenience. 

“East Hampshire is a very large district in terms of its size. Asking people to travel to Petersfield, or even to one or two staffed offices around the district can make life very hard for them. This system is the most efficient way to give residents the support they need from their council.”