Technology makes it easier for people to access council services
East Riding of Yorkshire Council is making it easier for residents and businesses to use its services.
The council is using new technology to provide 24/7 access to customer services and also to make it easier for people to use the council’s website with mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
The council’s website www.eastriding.gov.uk was recently recognised as one of the best public sector websites in the country and new features are making it even more useful to residents.
People can now book appointments online for many council services, including housing repairs, and to order bulky waste collections
And web chats are being piloted on the waste and recycling pages from this month. It means people can have live conversations with council staff by typing and receiving messages instantaneously via the website.
As well as the website options for residents to contact the council, new machines are proving popular at the Withernsea Centre, which opened in February.
The self-service machines, which will also be introduced at other council customer centres in the East Riding, allow residents to find out information about services and pay bills.
Customers can use the machines to make payments for services, check information such as bin collection dates, and carry out transactions such as reporting fly-tipping, booking a housing repair or requesting a replacement council tax bill.
Customer Wayne Clubley, who has used the machines at the Withernsea Centre to make rent and council tax payments as well as reporting a pothole, said: “They are very easy and convenient to use.”
Amanda Wilde, customer strategy and digital services manager, said: “Along with visitors to the council’s website, the self-service machines are already proving popular, increasing customer satisfaction and reducing queues.
“They allow customers to resolve simple enquiries or make payments themselves and staff are able to focus on the more complex and sensitive issues residents sometimes have.
“About 80 per cent of people coming in to the Withernsea Centre have been taking the opportunity to use the machines.”
Although the council is using new technology wherever possible to help residents access services, it will continue to offer face-to-face meetings at customer centres and telephone conversations with people who are not confident or able to use the internet and other digital technology.
Councillor Jonathan Owen, portfolio holder for transformation and strategic partnerships, said: “Significant developments in technology provide good opportunities for individuals and businesses to access council services in new ways.
“For many customers, their expectations of how they contact councils and businesses is changing rapidly and we are working with residents to help them embrace the digital age and provide self-service facilities as an efficient alternative to telephone or face-to-face contact.
“Residents can now access or book services on the move, at any time of the day and when it most suits them, and they can do it quicker.
“Customer service is a big priority for the council and the changes will also provide better value for money for tax-payers.”
Customer Wayne Clubley uses a self-service machine at the Withernsea Centre with customer advisor Manya Du’Lac.