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My Council... Offers 700 services
Monday 22nd February, 2010

My Council... Offers 700 services
Switchboard staff Amanda McGarry and Kath Haslam with Cllr Chris Ready at the billboard site at Tesco in Wigan

It was a case of ‘two for the price of one’ for Amanda at a Wigan supermarket this week.

Amanda is one of the dedicated council switchboard team who are there to connect people to one of the 700 or more services which the council provides.

She’s also part of a campaign to highlight council action in the areas that residents say matters to them, such as improving customer service and demonstrating value for money.

Councillor Chris Ready, the cabinet’s champion for communications says: “All too often residents don’t always make the connection between the 700 plus services we provide and the council tax they shell out every month.

”It’s up to us to make those connections – to take information about key services and issues to our residents in a way that they can easily relate to. That’s why we’re putting local people and council workers at the centre of the campaign.”

The campaign aims to show council action in key areas for residents, such as refuse collection and community cleanups, economy and employment, and education and skills. It will also throw the spotlight on lesser-known services delivered by legions of unsung heroes.

“I’ve been answering calls in Wigan for nearly fifteen years,” says Amanda. “Every day is different. I really take pride in being able to help people or give them a contact if it’s not a council service.”

“My Council” uses existing national campaign templates and has been delivered internally by Wigan Council staff following a major refocusing of marketing cash, which has seen savings of over £40,000 and a push to promote services online, where around half of residents already go to get service information from Wigan.

Cllr Ready adds: “For the average council tax payer, the hundreds of services we deliver – street lighting, education, meals on wheels, careers advice for young people – cost less than three quid a day.

“And whilst people tell us they want to know more about our services and how we are performing, there is always the issue of how we get those messages out. My Council is a local and really cost-efficient way to do this.”

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