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Have your say on the way you access council services

County Durham residents are being invited to have their say on the way they access council services.

Durham County Council is reviewing its face-to-face provision and proposing changes to opening hours at some of its Customer Access Points (CAPs) after seeing a change in the way customers contact the authority.

More than 90 per cent of residents now contact the council by phone, email or through its online self-service portal, following a gradual move away from face-to-face services before the Covid pandemic.

Face-to-face visits have remained low since reopening after the pandemic, falling from almost 10,000 visits in April 2019 to just over 2,000 in May 2022.

The number of people using CAPs varies considerably each week and across the different sites, with Barnard Castle, Chester-le-Street, Stanley and Consett CAPs having the lowest number of visitors, and Spennymoor and Crook the highest.

Cllr Susan McDonnell, Cabinet member for digital and customer services, said: “We understand the importance of face-to-face services across the county. However, with changes to the way in which people access our services, alongside the financial pressures we face because of reductions in government spending, inflation and rising costs, we now have an opportunity to review our services and inform our future approach.

“We must ensure we’re using our resources as responsibly as possible whilst maintaining services that matter to our residents, particularly those who are most vulnerable. To make the most effective use of our resources, we want residents to have their say on proposed changes to opening hours, whether our CAPs are in the most convenient locations, and if the services we provide are the services people need from us.”

Residents have until Monday 6 March to have their say at The council will consider the responses received before a final decision is made. If agreed, changes will be implemented in October.


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