CASH-STRAPPED Ceredigion council will spend almost £600,000 and employ 23 new staff members for a customer service centre in Aberystwyth, it has been announced.
Despite the council cutting posts in a range of departments as it looks to save money, Cabinet members backed a proposal that will see a new customer service centre set up to ensure that people contacting the council only have to make one call - instead of several - to reach the service they want.
While setting up the new system and staffing will cost almost £585,000 initially, the authority claims it will lead to savings of over £470,000 by changing the “handling of initial enquiries”.
The council currently has 15 staff in the customer services department, but said that staff members in other departments currently deal with a wide range of customer enquiries. Under the new system the authority would employ 38 staff members to work either in a contact centre to deal with phone enquiries or e-mails, in contact centres where they will deal with face-to-face enquiries, or in a post room to handle incoming and outgoing mail.
The initial cost in establishing the system will come from individual departments on a pro-rata basis under calculations of how much work which department currently handles in enquiries.
The new system, which has been planned based on comparisons to similar systems in neighbouring authorities, could be in place by April 2018.
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