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Kingston Council cuts customer services opening times
Kingston Council will cut its telephone helpline and advice centre’s opening times by two hours a day from next week.
From Monday, residents will only be able to contact the council between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday, instead of the current 8am to 6pm.
The council said it was streamlining the service in order to help staff use their time “more efficiently”, and referred customers to its new website, which launched in August.
But some residents have complained the move will have a negative impact on some people, particularly on the elderly, who do not use the internet.
Carl Kember, 75, a retired human resources manager, said: “This is a service that was provided by Kingston Council to the taxpayer. It’s a scandal.
“The call centre is invaluable to residents, especially elderly people who don’t use the internet. I include myself in that.
“It’s no good saying other councils like Richmond do it – that’s their business. This is Kingston, we have a better service.”
A Kingston Council spokesman said: “From Monday, October 14, the council’s information and advice centre and customer access points will be open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday for telephone calls and visitors.
“With more council services available online 24-hours a day through our new website, the new opening hours will help the council to use its staff’s time more efficiently to help people who aren’t online or who prefer to contact us in person.
“The council’s customer services received substantially fewer phone calls or visits between 8am and 9pm and 5pm and 6pm compared to the rest of the day.
“Streamlining all of our customer services’ opening hours means that residents will be able to talk to the council face-to-face or over the phone during standard working hours.”
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