Friendly floor walkers will meet and greet customers, to make sure that they quickly access the services that they need.

As part of this new approach, Customer Service Officers will assist people if they wish to self-serve online at dedicated computer terminals. It is hoped that this will help customers to access council services online in the future, at a place and time that is most convenient to them. If a face-to-face appointment is needed to see an officer, they can also arrange this for the customer.

Using the website is the most Covid-safe, quickest and most convenient way of accessing a whole range of services, including settling council tax or business rates bills, applying for parking permits, and signing up to services such as bulky waste collections or the Garden Recycling scheme, and many more.

"During the pandemic we have seen a significant increase in the amount of people accessing our services online and have received really positive feedback. Many people didn't realise how easy it was to access services from home at a time that suits them," says Kerry Standing, Divisional Manager for Revenues, Benefits and Customer Services at Chichester District Council.

"This is why we are excited to reopen our Customer Service Centre on Monday 21 June, because our Customer Services Officers will be on hand to assist people if they wish to use our online services. We're hoping that this will give our customers the confidence to use our online services in the future from the comfort of their own home. This is especially important in these current times, when our priority is to keep staff and customers safe," adds Kerry.

"We know that there will be circumstances when a face-to-face meeting is needed, so we have been busy making our customer service area as Covid-safe and spacious as possible for those who need to come and see us in person.

"If people are able to access the website, then we would encourage them to visit www.chichester.gov.uk, either from home or on the go. Services are available 24-hours a day, all year round.  People can also contact us by email and can find a list of helpful email addresses at . If someone has trouble finding what they need online, our friendly customer service team are available to take their calls on 01243 785166."

In addition to these improvements, the council has also reviewed its opening times and will be open from 9am to 5pm each day, apart from Thursdays when opening times will be from 10am to 5pm, starting from 1 July 2021.

The website allows people to view information such as planning applications, waste and recycling collection dates, and much more.

Residents can also sign up for 'My Alerts'. This service is completely free and means people can keep up-to-date with council news and job opportunities, as well as events and planning applications in their local area. To sign up visit 'My Alerts'.

Date of release: 17 June 2021

Reference: 4009