Face-to-face Dudley Council services axed and cash banned due to 'drop in use'

Face-to-face Dudley Council Plus services have been axed at two libraries in Dudley due to a drop in people using them, council chiefs have said.

Dudley Council
Dudley Council

The council service – a one-stop shop for people needing to access authority services – has been run at four sites across the borough.

But bosses have revealed the services at Stourbridge and Brierley Hill libraries have now been axed as they cited a lack of space and drop in use.

And cash will be banned at the other sites, in Castle Street in Dudley and at Halesowen library.

Dudley Council said there had been a drop in people using the in-person services from 10 per cent pre-Covid-19 to two per cent amid the pandemic.

And only four per cent of residents are choosing to pay with cash – which they have been unable to do at the centres since the pandemic started.

Chiefs said residents have "not asked for this option to be reinstated" and that more and more people were using online or phone service options.

Councillor Shaun Keasey, cabinet member for digital, customer and commercial services, said: "We’ve seen a significant drop in face-to-face customer contacts across all our sites over the last few years, with only two per cent of contacts being face-to-face over the last 18 months, which is why we’ve taken the decision to focus our walk-ins to where they are most used; Dudley and Halesowen.

"The majority of our customers are using self-serve methods online to report and resolved issues and are also using online facilities to make payments, making the cash kiosks which have been out of use since March [last year] redundant.

"People who want to pay in cash can continue to do so at a location more convenient and closer to them, wherever they see the PayZone or PayPoint sign.

"By focusing on our online and telephone services we can be much more efficient in dealing with customers and provide a service which fits in around them."

The authority said changes to layouts at Brierley Hill and Stourbridge libraries mean there was no longer space to have a "physical presence" and the council can "no longer" run a service at the sites.

Meanwhile Halesowen library has additional room to expand and an in-person service will continue there once building improvement works have been completed, with no change at the main Dudley centre which remains open.

People can continue to pay by phone with their Debit or Credit Card using the CallPay automated payments system on 0300 555 7000. They can also pay online via the council website.

And for those people who prefer to pay in person, payments can continue to be made at any post office or PayZone or PayPoint location. People can get in touch with the council via the phone on 0300 555 2345, email dudleycouncilplus@dudley.gov.uk via twitter @dudleyplus or by completing a self-serve forms on the council website.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News