PLANS to invest £1.2 million on improving Wirral Borough Council’s customer services will be discussed by the cabinet later this month.
As part of the ‘Access Wirral’ programme, the proposals would make it easier and quicker to contact the council and access services.
The plans would see a new state-of-the-art system to help process residents’ enquiries, making it much easier for things such as applying for benefits, reporting faults with streetlights and potholes and paying council tax.
Cabinet member for community engagement and communications Cllr Matthew Patrick said: “Contacting the council needs to be as easy as possible; it should be efficient, quick and help residents get the support they need. Access Wirral will help us do just that.
“Access Wirral will deliver a quick, seamless and efficient route for residents to contact the council. By removing the duplication of systems, it will help staff provide much needed support in the most efficient way.
“By investing £1.2 million in a state-of-the-art system, we will improve our customer services by enabling people to be self-sufficient by accessing services quickly, digitally and easily.
“With these improvements, we will be able to drastically reduce the waiting time for low-risk claims for housing benefit. This would see those claims paid sooner, protecting vulnerable residents from turning to expensive pay-day lenders.
“The investment allows us to make savings in the near future once the system is embedded and working to specification, and it will enable us to direct our skilled staff resources into making sure residents get more one-to-one, personal support to successfully and confidently access the services they need.
“Access Wirral is a major step forward in how the council supports residents.”
The first phase of the project would see the council invest in a new system to simplify council tax and housing benefits before it is rolled out to other areas such as street scene.
Enabling people to log and track their requests, the system would remove the need for repeat calls to a call-centre.
It is believed that this will then free up staff to concentrate on more complex requests and focus on providing more personal support for vulnerable residents.
A decision on the investment will be made by the council’s cabinet on March 27.