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Culling of housing offices agreed by council
7:00am Tuesday 16th October 2012 in News
THE housing offices in Purfleet and Corringham are set to close after Thurrock Council’s housing overview and scrutiny committee agreed to a report outlining changes to the service.
At its first ever meeting last Wednesday, the committee pressed council director of housing Barbara Brownlee over proposals to change the way housing services are delivered, which includes closing the offices in Purfleet and Corringham.
The report, entitled Transformation of Local Housing Services, said Purlfeet and Corringham have low visitor numbers and proposed a move away from “a static concept of service delivery” to a more versatile one, where officers are out and about at complexes and estates more often.
Ms Brownlee said: “This report is about how we deliver housing services and more effectively with cuts.
“It’s about making sure housing office staff time is best used and that’s by spending more time with customers.”
The report also claimed that while it costs £14 for a face-to-face transaction at a housing office, for residents to resolve housing issues over the phone costs £5 and to do it on the internet costs 17p.
Stanford East and Corringham Town Tory Cllr Phil Anderson, who was in the public gallery, said getting some elderly residents to use the internet and computers would be “a major adult education exercise”.
Committee chairman Cllr Rob Gledhill also had concerns and pressed Ms Brownlee on why the Corringham office had been earmarked for closure when the Chadwell St Mary office has less visitors.
Ms Brownlee responded by saying the Chadwell office had been reduced in size already and so the pilot would not work there.
One amendment was made, meaning some council services will be accessible at Stanford-le-Hope Library until the community hubs are rolled out.