A new service centre for Northumberland County Council will be opened in Morpeth town centre, the authority’s leader has confirmed.
Grant Davey was speaking as part of the announcement for the Total Mobile digital system for outreach working that is being rolled out.
The authority says this system will enable more staff to work locally and save long journeys between offices. They will be able to work from devices such as mobile phones and tablets.
Teams ranging from social services through to Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service are already using the new technology.
Coun Davey said: “This new system will allow local people to interact with the council at locations near to them, rather than all staff working out of a centralised hub.
“Travelling to our current HQ in Morpeth can be a difficult journey for many people as it’s some distance from the town centre. What we want is for residents to be able to pop in to local offices when they’re out at the shops, similar to when services were delivered by district councils.
“We’re working to introduce Total Mobile in all our market towns and I’d like to specifically reassure the people of Morpeth that we will open a service centre for them in the town centre for convenience and accessibility.”
An information centre for the council used to be in place on Bridge Street. It was closed three years ago and a customer services point was put in place at Morpeth Library.
Coun Davey added that Total Mobile will enable staff at the authority to keep vital information updated daily.
They will make better use of their time by dropping into their ‘local office’ and downloading their work. There will also be a video conferencing system allowing regular contact and quicker decision making between the workforce and managers.
Meanwhile, Morpeth Town Champion Nigel Walsh has spoken of his delight at the number of people who attended a recent drop-in event about the future of the town.
More than 200 residents came along to the Town Hall during the course of the day to talk about existing services in the area and their ideas for how the council could deliver services in the future.
The event gave the local community the chance to speak with a variety of services from the county council, as well as the Town Council, Greater Morpeth Development Trust, Chamber of Trade and the Morpeth Town Team.
Mr Walsh said: “There was a fantastic turnout, which demonstrates the level of interest and passion that people have for the town, and I would like to thank everyone for coming along.
“It was also great that partner organisations took the opportunity to be involved in what was an important day for the future of the town.”
Numerous issues were raised throughout the day – from future school provision and housing to ideas for the future of the County Hall site.
Mr Walsh added: “I will be feeding the views back to the key stakeholders and we will be looking at all the ideas and issues raised, which we can then feed into future plans for consideration.”