Deborah Yamanaka
North Somerset Council Green garden waste collections Just a reminder that garden waste collections will be monthly instead of fortnightly in December, January and February. In Wrington the collection dates will be 11th Dec (Mon), 9th January (Tues) and 5th Feb (Mon). You should have new collection calendars, and they can also be downloaded from NSC’s website <http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/>. If you have any problems please contact me. NSC Planning Developments You may have heard about large proposed housing developments near Banwell, Churchill, Backwell and Nailsea. NSC is holding some public Local Plan drop-in events aimed at “generating ideas and starting the debate” for more detailed planning for these developments. You may just catch one or more of these. For Churchill and Banwell - Wed 22 Nov at Churchill Primary School 6-8:30pm and Wed 29 Nov at Banwell children’s centre 3-7pm. For Backwell & Nailsea - Thurs 30 Nov at Backwell Parish Hall 4-8pm and Thurs 7th Dec at the Tithe Barn, Nailsea 2-6.30pm. There is also online consultation at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/localplan2036. Council Connect Last year NSC introduced an automated switchboard for its phone line 01934 888888. This involved automating many calls which could be directed easily to the right department. Some examples of programmed words for waste bin queries are: Bin Collections; Bin Timetables; Food Waste; Recycling Bins; Recycling Centres; Wheelie Bin Not Emptied. If these words are spoken into the Interactive Voice Response system (IVR) the call will go to the Development & Environment Directorate. Over 75% of calls now go straight through the IVR, without the need to involve an operator, and with reportedly very few complaints. Residents’ calls are logged onto a system which delivers the request to the services’ back office systems. For example, if the resident reports a pot hole, the team will ask a set of questions to establish the right information. This is then logged onto a database and electronically transmitted to the pothole team who will action it. The number of “abandoned” calls (ie not answered) has been difficult to address in the last year due to the introduction of garden waste bins and difficulties with the new waste contract. The total number of calls was unexpectedly high, and four extra staff were employed to deal with this. The contact centres allow 10 calls at any one time. The 11th caller will receive a message to say that all agents are busy, please call back later. In order to make cost savings contact centre hours were reduced from 08:00-18:00 to 09:00-17:00 in July. Hours will probably be reduced further in the future