Wingecarribee Shire Council General Manager Ann Prendergast has announced a proposal to overhaul how Council delivers its ‘front-line’ customer services from its Moss Vale-based Civic Centre.
Under the proposed change, Council would implement a new staffing model that would ensure customers receive greater face-to-face time with staff, while also reducing ‘on-hold’ waiting times in the Call Centre.
Wingecarribee Shire General Manager Ann Prendergast explained the proposal was a direct response to customer feedback and the findings of a recent review of customer services.
“We have listened to feedback from the community and recommendations from a recent customer service review. The review identified numerous recommendations across three areas which included Structure and Staff Resourcing, Systems and Processes,” Ms Prendergast said.
“However before significant improvements can be made to our systems and processes, we have to ensure we have the right staff resourcing model in place.”
“Customers have told us they wanted a faster turn-around of paperwork and an improvement in our customer services.”
As part of the proposed new model a mix of full-time and permanent part-time staff will be introduced. Permanent part-time staff would work in two shifts daily. These shifts would overlap in the middle of the day to better deal with lunch-time peak demands.
“These proposed changes are all about flexibility in service delivery. The changes will not only assist us in responding to our customers in a more timely manner but also help to avoid duplication of work,” Ms Prendergast said.
The proposed changes come on the back of a significant increase in Section 149 Certificate applications being lodged with Council since the start of the year.
“Real Estate Agents, Builders, Developers and even mums and dads building a house all rely on Council returning their paperwork as soon as practical and accurately as possible,” Ms Prendergast said.
“To do this we have to provide a more flexible resourcing model.”
Other initiatives include the automation of some processes (ie. the Section 149 Certificate process), establishment of a dedicated ‘Builders Hotline’ and the rostering of Development staff to meet face-to-face with customers.
Ms Prendergast acknowledged that some existing staff may find the transition difficult.
“We fully appreciate that some of the changes may not suit all staff,” she said. “However I can assure that all staff will be provided equal opportunity to apply for the new roles and will be supported throughout the recruitment process.”
A support program detailing options for staff not wishing to re-apply will be discussed with all affected parties.
“As per the State Award, Council will be consulting will all our staff and providing them with full opportunity for input,” Ms Prendergast added.
“At the end of the day these changes are designed to provide our customers with more flexible service in line with the community’s needs and expectations.”