West Berkshire Council

Start date: 2015-11-03
End date: 2015-12-14
Results: 2016-03-03
ARCHIVED

[ARCHIVED] Budget Proposal 2016/17 - Phase One: Cash Office, Market Street

Part of the range of West Berkshire Council's budget proposals for 2016/17, with supporting information and Equality Impact Assessments

If you haven't already seen our video explaining why these changes are being proposed, please visit our Budget Proposals 2016/17 webpage.

Background

Residents can currently pay their council bills, for example Council Tax, at the Cash Office at Market Street, by Direct Debit, Standing Order, at the Post Office, through the Internet, by telephone, or by postal cheque.

The Cash Office is currently open to take payments Mondays and Fridays, and half day Wednesdays.


Proposal

The proposal is to close the Cash Office located in the council offices (Market Street, Newbury) to release savings of £44,000 per year. In addition to paying bills by all the current methods available, it is proposed to extend the alternative payment provision currently available through a third party provider which utilises district wide 'Paypoints'. (pdf icon Locations of Paypoints [2Mb]).

'Paypoint' is one of the UK's leading premier branded retail networks for the convenient local payment of household bills. There are 5 located in close proximity to the council offices and 55 within the district (24,000 places in the UK) where you can pay, for example in newsagents, convenience stores, supermarkets and garages; most open long hours, many seven days a week and the service is free.


What do we think the impact will be?

Residents choose to visit the Cash Office for a range of reasons; location, a preference to pay in person or by cash, to obtain a receipt, and also through habit. It is recognised that some customers don't trust electronic systems for handling payments. These factors will mean that some customers may find it difficult to adjust to alternative methods of payment which are available.

The proposal to close the Cash Office will predominantly affect those residents who choose to visit the council offices to pay their bills in person, rather than paying through an alternative channel.

The introduction of 'Paypoint' will benefit rural areas and businesses due to the range of locations and longer opening times.


What else have we considered in arriving at our proposal?

No alternatives were considered, as delivering that level of savings elsewhere would severely impact on more critical front line services.


This consultation is now closed.

What you told us

We received 23 responses to this consultation.

We have condensed all your comments into the 'Summary of Responses' and everything you said, word for word, is contained in 'Verbatim Responses'.

These can be found in 'Documents' below.

What we did

A recommendation on how to proceed with this proposal was made to the Executive Members on 11 February 2016.

This can also be found below in 'Overview and Recommendation'.

Following this, at the Full Council Meeting on 1 March 2016, all Members discussed this proposal as part of setting the Revenue Budget for 2016/17.

At the vote, the budget was agreed with the suggested amendments.

It was agreed to proceed with this proposal.

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