Gedling Borough Council’s office in Arnold will reopen to the public from today (6) – but residents are being urged to make an appointment before visiting
People will be able to speak to the Customer Services Team in person for the first time since public facing services were paused in March.
The council’s main offices, the Civic Centre, at Arnot Hill Park, has reopened on an appointment only basis from today. Social distancing measures will be in place, including signage and screens in interview booths, to protect visitors and staff.
The centre temporarily closed to visitors in March, as part of the nationwide lockdown, and since then the council’s Customer Services team have successfully dealt with a significant increase in all queries by telephone, email and social media.
Within the first eight weeks of the lockdown period, the Customer Services team answered over 30,880 telephone calls, nearly 8,500 extra calls above the normal average.
During the same period, online form submissions increased by 10%, along with a 308% increase in social media messages and a 21% increase in emails.
This week, the Local Government Association has published the latest findings from its regular national resident’s satisfaction survey, which has recorded the highest level of satisfaction with local councils. The results from the survey, conducted in June, includes a 12% increase in satisfaction in the way local councils run things, a 12% increase in trust and a 11% increase in satisfaction in councils acting on residents’ concerns.
Appointments can be made for visitors who wish to speak to someone in person about council services, though wherever possible, telephone or email enquiries are encouraged and appointments will only be made if they are necessary.
Appointments can be made by telephoning 0115 901 3901, guidance on what to expect and what to do when visiting the centre will discussed when booking.
Leader of Gedling Borough Council, Councillor John Clarke said: “I’m pleased to announce we will be reopening the Civic Centre again after this unexpected closure.
“Our Customer Services Team have done a fantastic job at helping answer queries online and over the phone rather than in person, and the increase in demand has been astonishing.
“We know that many of our residents and businesses, need to speak to us face to face at times, and while we’re asking people to contact us by phone or email where possible, if they need to speak to an advisor in person, we want to give them that option.
“We’ve taken precautions to make sure the building is safe for visitors and that our staff are protected too. Recent times have been challenging for many of us recently and I’d like to thank all our residents for their understanding and supporting us while our services have adapted during this time.”