This report will be the subject of pre-scrutiny at a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee that is due to take place on 16th December 2019. Any recommendations arising from this meeting will be reported in an additional papers pack for the consideration of the Executive Committee.
The Assistant Customer Support Manager presented a report which outlined proposals for the closure of the One Stop Shops in Batchley, Woodrow and Winyates. Officers were proposing that these One Stop Shops should close due to the declining number of customers using these facilities as well as the financial costs to the Council involved in maintaining the One Stop Shops. Several years previously the opening hours of the One Stop Shops had been reduced following a review so that they were now accessible on a reduced hours’ basis. Customers who currently visited the One Stop Shops to pay Council bills would be able to use Allpay facilities at other locations including local Post Offices and would also still be able to visit Redditch Town Hall to make direct payments to the Council. Prior to the closure of the One Stop Shops customers would be provided with guidance about alternative payment methods as well as other locations where payments could be made. The Council was projected to achieve savings of £65,000 following the closure of the One Stop Shops and there was the potential for the authority to receive £5,000 – £6,000 in rental income should the unit in Winyates subsequently be leased to an external organisation.
During consideration of this item reference was made to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s discussion in respect of the One Stop Shops report at a meeting held on Monday 16th December 2019. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee had raised a number of concerns about the impact that the closure of the One Stop Shops might have on vulnerable and elderly residents who might struggle or be reluctant to use alternative payment methods outside of a secure Council environment. The Committee had asked for their concerns to be noted by the Executive Committee. Officers had explained that there were 70 pay points across the Borough that could be used by customers. The Council would ensure that time was spent providing advice and support to customers in advance of the closure of the One Stop Shops in April 2020 in order to minimise any potential for disruption. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee had also enquired about the potential staffing implications and Officers had advised that there would be no redundancies as the Council would be deleting vacant posts as a result of the closure of the One Stop Shops.
The proposals detailed in the report were subsequently debated by the Committee. On the one hand Members noted that the One Stop Shops were expensive for the Council to run. There would be alternative payment methods and support would be provided to effected customers. On the other hand concerns were raised that the closure of the One Stop Shops could impact on the viability of the district centres in Batchley, Woodrow and Winyates. Concerns were also raised about the potential impact that this could have on customers who struggled to access other venues.
closure of the One Stop Shops at ... view the full minutes text for item 73