Durham County Council’s customer access points (CAPs), which closed in line with Plan B restrictions, will reopen to visitors next week.
The council’s CAPs, which offer help and information about council services for people who are unable to use telephone or online services, have been closed since December, in line with national work from home guidance.
Although Plan B restrictions were lifted in February, the council’s CAPs remained temporarily closed to allow staff to support other front-line services, including the processing of test and trace support payments due to high demand caused by the Omicron variant.
All services provided at the CAPs pre-pandemic will be available from Friday,1 April. Customers will need to pre-book an appointment prior to visiting and there will be a focus on helping residents to access digital services through their phones, tablets and laptops.
Appointments with specialist staff for complex issues will be held by video call rather than face-to-face, with video equipment on offer in CAPs should customers not be able to access this at home.
When visiting a CAP, customers are asked to sanitise their hands, wear a face covering if they wish and respect other people’s space, to keep staff and customers safe.
CAPs are located in Barnard Castle, Stanley, Seaham, Spennymoor, Durham City, County Hall, Crook, Chester-le-Street and Consett.
Cllr Susan McDonnell, cabinet member for digital and customer services, said: “We are pleased to be able to welcome back visitors to our customer access points.
“The appointment system will help us to ensure we have the resource available to meet customer needs across all channels. We also look forward to helping people build their digital skills as we support residents to access digital services.”
Residents can book an appointment at their preferred CAP by calling 03000 26 0000 or emailing [email protected]