Oxford City Council has moved its face-to-face customer services to Oxfordshire County Council’s Westgate Central Library from 31 January.
In April 2021, the City Council reopened face to face customer services at St Aldates Chambers, with appropriate COVID health and safety measures in place. This will continue but will now relocate to the Westgate Library, where Oxfordshire County Council offer a similar service.
This pilot aims to deliver improved services to our residents by co-locating more face to face customer services provision in one place. This should be more convenient and enable more effective coordination between services.
Residents can visit one location in the city centre to undertake both City and County Council business. The pilot will initially run for 12 months but will continue if successful.
Officers from the City Council will be available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10.30am to 3.30pm at the Westgate Library. Residents can simply drop in during these times or book an appointment with the Council by phoning 01865 249811.
The City Council staff will predominantly be based on the second floor, where easy access for all will be ensured by the lift service.
City Council officers will also be joined by Citizens Advice Oxford, which has been sharing space in St Aldates Chambers, to provide customers with confidential and impartial advice whatever problems they face. Its operating hours from 31 January will be Mondays and Wednesdays, 10.00am to 1.00pm.
Councillor Neil Fawcett, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services and Safety, said: “We are delighted to be able to trial this new working arrangement with Oxford City Council. Our public libraries provide a trusted, free to use service for residents of all ages. They are a place for local communities to meet, a safe and welcoming space to learn and provide opportunities for creativity and enjoyment.
“The county library in the Westgate provides an easily accessible and friendly environment for Oxford City residents seeking support and who require or would prefer a face to face appointment with a member of the customer service team.”
Councillor Mike Rowley, Oxford City Council’s Cabinet Member for Citizen Focused Services, said: “We are always looking for ways to innovate and be more efficient, so this move to share space at the County Council’s Westgate Central library in the centre of Oxford is a great opportunity. We will still be able to provide the same high-quality customer service experience whilst at the same time freeing up space at St Aldates Chambers.”
Councillor Glynis Phillips, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, said: “This is a great opportunity for both councils to co-locate together and provide a seamless service to our residents. Customer service is a priority for the City and the County, and this collaboration will be a step forward in service delivery.”
Chris O’Hare, Chief Officer at Citizens Advice Oxford, said: “As a local charity offering key advice services, we welcome this opportunity to share this space with Oxford City Council and continue to provide advice from the central library. This is a vital service to people in Oxford who might not otherwise be able to access our services.”