July 31, 2008

One-Stop Shops Will Connect to Council

A NETWORK of grass roots contact points is to be set up across Northumberland to help the county's new super council connect with people and businesses.

One-stop shops and customer service access points will be established in towns across the county - to deal with things such as rent, waste permits, renewing library books and applying for disabled parking permits.

Subject to funding approval, the project will eventually result in one stop shops in Berwick, Alnwick, Hexham, Blyth, Cramlington, Ashington, Prudhoe, Morpeth and Seaton Delaval.

Smaller customer service points, using existing libraries or community buildings, are proposed in Amble, Bedlington, Haltwhistle, Haydon Bridge, Newbiggin, Ponteland, Prudhoe, Rothbury, Seahouses, Widdrington and Wooler.

At a later stage, there will also be community access points in other towns and larger villages where people can request services and make payments using the internet or hotline phones.

Members of the county's Joint Transition Forum - which is overseeing April's switch to unitary local government - is being asked to support a proposed service model for the network.

The costs of implementing the project, which it is claimed will generate future savings, need to be considered against the overall financial situation of the new council.

The nine one stop shops are proposed for the biggest and busiest towns, and are modelled on the successful Yourlink customer service centres in Blyth Valley.

(c) 2008 The Journal - Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.