Swindon council media release logo

A proposal to make it easier for residents to access council services will be discussed by Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet tomorrow (7 Dec).

As more residents choose to use online services, the Council is looking to take its Customer Services function out into the community rather than provide services in a single town centre venue.

There has been a significant reduction in face-to-face appointments accessed at the Council’s Wat Tyler Customer Services reception since the pandemic, with the number of appointments at just 28 per cent of the levels seen pre-pandemic.

Under the proposal, Swindon’s five core libraries – Central Library, Highworth, North Swindon, Park, and West Swindon – would provide information, digital support and sign-posting to help residents with queries such as applying for blue badges, renewing bus passes, getting information about waste and recycling, requesting home repairs and help with parking fines and permits.

Services would also continue to be available for residents via the Council’s website.

Councillor Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Organisational Excellence, said: “The Council has to work smarter and be more efficient. Visitors to Libraries are down 60 per cent since the pandemic and there are only 200 face-to-face visits to the Council’s Customer Service reception.

“Over 90 per cent of all the Council’s services and requests are online. It is common sense to close the single reception area, and relocate the service into five core libraries, which are in our communities.

“This move will help residents get the support they need from the Council, and help those who can’t use the website and in need of additional assistance.”

Councillor Olapado Ibitoye, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Libraries, said: “Implementing these services through our core libraries will be more accessible for residents, providing a space where staff can support residents in their own community and sign-post to services that meet local need.

“This will also enable our staff at the Contact Centre to answer further telephone enquiries and therefore reduce waiting times for residents calling up for help.”