Norwich City Council's customer centre to get £275,000 facelift
PUBLISHED: 18:20 06 February 2018 | UPDATED: 18:20 06 February 2018
Norwich City Council
The section of Norwich's City Hall where people go to deal with issues such as council tax, rent, parking permits and housing is to get a revamp - at a cost of £270,000.
Norwich City Council says it needs to spend the money to improve its customer centre and turn it into a “modern, welcoming and flexible space”.
But the work will mean that the centre has to close for 14 weeks starting from Monday, May 7.
The council is finalising alternative arrangements and have promised there will be a location close to City Hall where people will be able to head for appointments.
Matthew Packer, Norwich City Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for customer contact, said: “The customer centre is in need of refurbishment, and this will be an important milestone in our work to achieve a digital-first customer approach.
“Thousands of customers are already choosing to use our website to access council services, and this new environment will enable more residents to self-serve while still allowing us to provide in-person support for those that need it.”
The council says the old-style counters in the centre, off Bethel Street, which is visited by about 1,600 people a week, will be removed.
The idea is that the new look centre, which will be more open plan, will encourage self-service. There will be fixed tablets where people can access online services and free WiFi.
The council says, with Universal Credit being rolled out into Norwich this year, that will help people to make those claims, as it can only be claimed online.
But, it will mean people will no longer be able to just drop into the centre to talk to staff when it reopens.
Services such as council tax and housing repairs are already appointment only, and that will be rolled out to all services once the centre reopens.
The council says more than 20,000 people already manage their parking online, 10,000 have customer accounts and more than 70 online forms allow customers to report issues and apply for services.
The revamp, which will be managed by Norwich Property Services (NPS), is being paid for by existing budgets allocated for refurbishment in City Hall.