New Benefits Help Centre For Oxford

19 September 2011, 05:00 | Updated: 19 September 2011, 05:30

A new Customer Service Centre in St. Aldates is helping to change how Oxford City Council hands out and assesses benefits.

Oxford City Council was given a poor assessment from the Audit Commission in March, but plans for the new centre had already been discussed.

It opened last Monday and Helen Bishop, the council's Head of Customer Services told Heart it's already helping:

"The first week's been really good, anecdotal feedback we've had so far from customers has been very positive."

She also told us why the new centre is needed:

"Customers can come in here and they can access a complete range of council services at a single point of contact and not have to worry about who to speak too - we take the responsibility of the enquiry away from the customer and act as their advocate.

"We're very keen that people are able to access the services in a way that's suitable for them - whether they want to come in face to face or call us on our single telephone number or use our services on the website."

The centre includes self service computers where advisers can help claimants help themselves, interview rooms and a place to access planning applications that are being discussed by the council.