Durham County Council’s customer access points (CAPs), which closed at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, will reopen to visitors this month on an appointment-only basis.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, CAPs, which offer help and information about council services for people who are unable to use telephone or online services, have been closed since 27 March 2020. The centres will re-open on Thursday 30 September, with new measures in place to improve customer service and ensure visitor safety.
All services provided pre-pandemic will be available, but customers will see a number of changes, including a need to pre-book an appointment prior to visiting and 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.
When visiting a CAP, customers are asked to sanitise their hands, wear a face covering 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.
Residents can book an appointment at their preferred CAP by calling 03000 26 0000 or emailing [email protected].
Victoria Murray, the council’s head of digital and customer services, said: “We are pleased to be able to welcome back visitors to our customer access points.
“The changes we have implemented will be beneficial in improving the customer experience and helping us to function in the current Covid situation, including allowing us to adapt to any future changes in service.
“By introducing an appointment system, we can ensure that we have the resource available to meet customer needs across all channels and take time to help customers who do not have the internet or digital device. By supporting people to access digital services, we can also help them to build their digital skills.”
Further details on the locations of County Durham CAPs and their opening hours can be found online at www.durham.gov.uk/customeraccesspoints.