Decision details

Phased re-opening of Customer Services Contact Centre for face to face appointments

Decision Maker: Assistant Director Housing and Building Services

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


The Customer Services Centre closed for face to face appointments on 3 April 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

The proposal is to commence a phased re-opening of the Customer Services Centre initially for face to face urgent appointments for Register Office, Homelessness, Financial Protection (FPT) and Section 17 payments.

The staffing levels within the Centre would be:
• 1 Security Guard
• 1 Customer Services Advisor
• 1 Customer Services Team Leader
• Register office staff (1 receptionist, 2 back office)
• Financial Protection staff (dependant on number of appointments)

It is expected that the Register Office will be advised to recommence the registration of births face to face from 1 June 2020, the Homeless team will continue to provide support and advice over the telephone and the Financial Protection Team will return to providing monies face to face within the Customer Services Centre.

Social distancing measures are to be strictly adhered to, hence only offering an appointment-based service with reduced opening times of 10am to 3pm.

Services available and opening times would be reviewed on a 3 weekly basis and individual services would be heavily involved in the extension of services available.

The expected date for re-opening is 1 June 2020.

HM Government guidance for working safely during COVID-19 to be consulted and adhered to throughout.

Financial/staffing/health & safety (incl virus transmission risks)/service delivery impacts/other risks and impacts considered:

•Installation of “sneeze-screens” to reception desks and 7 interview rooms (inclusive of all 4 register office rooms);
•All staff provided with full-face visors as per guidance from Public Health;
•The use of gloves is not currently recommended by Public Health but use of hand sanitizer and regular handwashing is recommended;
•Regular cleaning to be carried out within the centre;
•Appointment only system to reduce number of staff and customers within the centre;
•Security in place to manage entrance and exit of customers;
•Temporary barriers installed in the Town Hall to ensure a safe queuing system;
•Public PC area, public waiting area, scanning station and payment kiosk to remain closed for the time being to reduce number of “drop-in” visits;
•Number of customers within interview rooms to be restricted to 1 person at any one time except in the instance of births where parents are unmarried and legally both must be present at the same time;
•Appointments for services such as Financial Protection Team (FPT) to be staggered to reduce queues;
•An electronic diary for appointments to be used and managed by Customer Services Team Leaders;
•Panic alarms fully functioning in interview rooms and through personal pendants;
•One-way system for customers entering and exiting the centre to reduce chances of customers being within 2m of each other and therefore reduce chances of infection;
•Signage throughout the centre reminding of social distancing guidelines;
•Staff access through the centre restricted to reduce numbers within centre;
•All interview rooms not in use for face to face interviews to be locked from the customer side to reduce possible infection of staff who are currently using these as office space;
•Automatic hand sanitizer dispensers available for customers at entrance and exit area and behind interview rooms and reception desk for staff.

Equality Impacts:
In the context of the pandemic customers should not be making visits to the contact centre for this purpose, however it is recognised that the registration of births is essential. FPT customers have continued to collect monies from Civic Reception during the pandemic so the re-opening will reduce risks for staff and customers.


A Phased re-opening of Customer Services Contact Centre for face to face appointments effective from 01/06/2020 until further notice – to be reviewed on a 3-weekly basis.

Reason - For the protection of public and staff health and to adhere to current government guidelines of staying at home.

Alternative options considered:


Publication date: 20/11/2020

Date of decision: 27/05/2020