Book review: Call centres, one-stop shops of community based information centres?

Centres, One-Stop Shops Or Community Based Information

Martin Willis, Institute of Local Government Studies

ISBN 0704422557, £15


This report describes research commissioned by a metropolitan
borough as it planned a restructuring, with the aim of improving
public access, speeding up responses, and developing more
person-centred ways of working, writes Les Bright.

Four models of “first contact and assessment arrangements” that
could be adopted by councils are outlined. Drawing on responses to
a detailed questionnaire completed by eight authorities – all of
which had been developing improvements in their own systems and
access points – it became clear that none of them fitted neatly
into any one of the models, rather they made use of elements of two
or more of them.

Readers will find useful information, and many examples of
innovative practice to help plan and develop activities.

This is an area where joined-up working between and within agencies
is vital. But improving access, and responding more quickly will be
of little value if increasing numbers of people then discover that
they are outside ever tighter eligibility criteria that prevent
them from receiving services.

Les Bright is an independent consultant and professional
adviser to the Relatives and Residents Association

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