‘Easier council contact’ costs taxpayers £1.9m

The new look council website
The new look council website

Milton Keynes Council has spent a whopping £1.9 million on making itself more accessible to the public.

But bosses say the spending splurge is justified because it will SAVE money in years to come.

The improvements all come under the category of public access and aim to make it easier for customers to get the services they need.

The money has been spent on a new website (£27,000 a year), better telephone services and better face-to-face contact with staff.

The investment should put a stop to “duplication, inefficiency and bureaucracy” suffered by callers, said a council spokesman.

“It will take the council from a service provider focus where customers have to make multiple contacts to get the services they need to a customer focus where services join up so that customers can get the services they need in a single contact,” he said.

The improvements should also mean callers are put through to the person they need immediately, rather than being passed around several employees.

The spokesman said: “The Public Access programme is designed to improve services to the customer. We expect the investment of almost £2 million to make a potential return of £3.7 million over the next five years.”

Currently the most popular methods of contacting the council are by telephone and face-to-face. Until now the use of the internet has been “limited”, but the council is hoping the new look site will make a difference and encourage more people to go online.

Already though some people have complained the new site is confusing and difficult to navigate. But the council says 120,426 people visited the site in the first six weeks after its launch and only three complaints were received.

The spokesman said: “We welcome feedback about the new look site and will continue to develop it to ensure it meets the needs of Milton Keynes residents.”