Following the recent changes for customer services in the city, Spotlight caught up with Russell from the team at Temple Street to see what it’s like working at a Citizen Service Point and what people can expect.
What is it like working at the CSP?
Well, there is no typical day. It really depends on who comes through the door.
We get here for around quarter to nine most days. Doors open at 9am and there’s usually a queue outside already.
Twice a week, on a Tuesday and a Thursday, we have a team huddle from 8.30am. This gives us a chance to go over any updates to the council’s services. As the main front line service for the council it is essential that we are as up to date on any changes or processes as we can be so that we can best help the people who come in to see us.
There’s usually a lot to get through in that half an hour as we need to be briefed on changes to all of the services that the council offers.
Once we’re open four of us will be stationed as floor walkers whose job it is to offer to help to anyone who comes through the door and help to guide them to the right area. This might include taking them to one of the nine self-serve computers where we can help teach people how they can access all of these services themselves online. This includes access to a scanner which people can use if they don’t have access to one themselves or aren’t able to send a photo of their documents from their smartphone.
Aside from this we also offer appointments where we can give people some extra time if they come and see us.
What do you enjoy about the job?
I think working in the CSP is great because you have an opportunity to really help people.
Few of the teams in the council really see the public in the same way that we do. So we are in a unique position to listen to their problems, understand and try to help where we can.
You might not always get thanked for it but sometimes it’s enough when you know that you have made a difference to someone’s life.
Because we move around the office a lot we all have a basic knowledge of most areas in the council but some of us have specialised. I’m now great at understanding council tax which involves a lot of maths – something I didn’t think I’d ever enjoy doing.
We’re helped to improve our skills through in-depth training across all areas of the council which means we have a fairly good chance of being able to point most people in the right direction.
The main thing is the team. They are amazing and we work like clockwork. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been part of such a good team.
What would you say to people who need to visit the CSP?
It can get very busy here at times with each member of staff working flat out to try and assist as many citizens as possible. As a result, we do ask that people look for our services online first as they can all be accessed through our main website.
Our duties also involve dealing with emergency and desperate situations, such as when someone presents themselves as homeless. When this happens we then need to carry out a homeless triage which involves an in-depth discussion around what the needs are of the individual in order to find out what help is available.
Because of this we may need to prioritise certain cases over others if they haven’t made an appointment with us. However if you do need to see us, pop in and we will always do our best to help.