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Wednesday 30th September, 2009

The top brass from Wigan Council are heading out to Wigan and Leigh Markets to hear from residents about public services and local issues.

Senior officers and councillors, including the council’s deputy chief executive Sue Johnson, will be on market stalls during Customer Services Week, ready to discuss people’s concerns.

On Monday October 5, officers and members of the council’s cabinet will be on Leigh Market from 10am to 4pm. And on Thursday 8 October, they will be on Wigan Market, again from 10am to 4pm.

Sue Johnson says: “We want to hear from you. We’re making our services more accessible, with major investment in customer care, more online access, clearer communication and local forums. This is an opportunity to meet some of the council’s senior managers and discuss with them how the council is run.”

Last year’s Customer Care Week saw senior staff and councillors going ‘back to the floor’, working on helpdesks, as dinner ladies and passenger assistants.

Cllr Chris Ready, the council’s champion for improvement, says: “We are listening to the customers and we will act on what they tell us. These events are part of a process of listening closely to service users. The council has hundreds of services and most people rely on a good many of them, whether they are a footpath user, need help after coming out of hospital or have a school dinner.”

As well as the chance to talk to managers, the Leigh Market event will be an opportunity for the public to see the proposals for the refurbishment of Leigh town hall. The council are investing in the building to transform it into one of the borough’s first ‘Life Centres’ – a modern and accessible place for public services and council information.

The council is investing in ten new local 'Life' centres around the borough, which offer one-stop-shop access to council services, health, housing, advice and information. A clearly branded identity in friendly and spacious surroundings with fast online services is promised for each venue. Each township in the borough will have their own Life Centre within the next three years.

Sharon Weetman, the council's Head of Customer Services, says: “Bringing modernised access to local services is essential. Our customers tell us they want it and we're making it a priority. We want people to make full use of their local town and all it can offer.”

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