Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, Cecil Street, Margate, Kent. View directions
Contact: Charles Hungwe
Apologies for Absence
The following Members have given their apologies:
Councillor Parsons, substituted by Councillor Martin;
Councillor Curran, substituted by Councillor Taylor-Smith.
Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations of interest. Members are advised to consider the advice contained within the Declaration of Interest form attached at the back of this agenda. If a Member declares an interest, they should complete that form and hand it to the officer clerking the meeting and then take the prescribed course of action.
There were no declarations of interest.
Dominic Whelan, Director of Shared Services who leads East Kent Services (EKS) introduced the item for debate by providing a presentation on the rationale for the decision taken to close the Ramsgate District Office. Mr Whelan provided some background context in regard to the changing nature and demand for Customer Services and the financial drivers and technological considerations that had been taken into account when making the decision.
The aim is to use technology and telephone contact centre provision in a way that would deliver services to residents in an affordable and viable way but also recognise that a one size does not fit all’ and the needs of the very vulnerable need to be taken into account.
Mr Whelan explained that EKS had reviewed its service delivery processes for all the partner district areas which led to the decision to close the area offices in Ramsgate, Whitstable, Herne Bay, Aylesham, Deal and Sandwich. The financial situation means that EKS has to find £834,000 of savings this year in order to ensure a balanced budget following reductions in the management fees and in order to contain growth in costs such as salaries and contract inflation.
A member of the public spoke on the item.
Andrew Stevens, Assistant Director (Customer Delivery) in EKS made additional comments to the presentation and advised the meeting that:
Mr Whelan said that moving forward EKS are planning to use existing Compliance Officers, who currently conduct Business Rates visits, to carry-out home visits to the elderly or individuals with disability and assist with requested customer services, in exceptional circumstances to assist those unable to access services.
In response to the officers’ presentation, Members raised the following points: