Widespread public consultation is today launching across Northamptonshire with residents and businesses on future opening hours for the main customer services for the new West and North councils when they go live on 1 April next year. The consultation closes on 23rd August.
The proposals focus on bringing current opening hours, whether by telephone or face to face, into line across the North and also across the West, so that for example the hours offered in Corby match Wellingborough and those in Northampton match Daventry. This won’t however include those out of hours or emergency services, which will still run 24/7/365.
Residents and local businesses can give their views via the Future Northants Consultation Hub at https://futurenorthants.citizenspace.com/customer-services/csc-opening-hours-new-unitaries/
This is a relatively limited consultation, as it wouldn’t be affordable to substantially increase opening hours overall, and is therefore more about targeting the available overall opening hours in the way most convenient to those who use them.
Once the public’s views have been gathered, they will be considered alongside responses from customer service staff and trade unions, as well as from partner organisations like the voluntary and community sector, and taken to councillors to help them make decisions for the future.
Should this public consultation result in potential changes then this will be part of an employee consultation through Trade Unions so staff will be able to explore any impact on their working arrangements, but for now this is an engagement with the public what customers services will look like next year.
Richard Ellis, current chief executive of South Northamptonshire Council, who is leading this piece of work on behalf of all eight councils in the County said:
“More and more people are getting what they want from their local councils online, at any time of day, or day of the week, to fit in with their own working lives and family commitments. Many still prefer to use the phone though, or even see someone in person, and we really want to hear from local residents about which pattern of opening hours for council services would best suit them, so we can do our best to match those.”