30 November 2011

“Our telephone number is changing – and our website is better than ever” – that’s the message from Northamptonshire County Council.

The council’s number for general enquiries changes to 0300 126 1000 from 1st December.

It replaces the 01604 236236 number and means that everyone in the county calling from a landline will be charged at a local rate, regardless of their own area code.

Anyone calling the council after this date will access an automated call-handling system, which requires callers to press a number to choose the council service they want to contact.

The council’s most frequently requested services will be at the top of the list to ensure getting through to the right department will be as quick and easy as possible.

Telephoning is not the only way to access council information and services. The county council’s website www.northamptonshire.gov.uk is constantly being developed and updated to improve the range of features it offers.

Each time someone chooses to access council information online instead of making a telephone call, the council saves £2.95. Given that the council’s customer service centre receives over 8,000 calls every week, encouraging more people to use the website instead of telephoning means that the council can make considerable savings.

Councillor Heather Smith, cabinet member for customer services said: “Our new telephone number will ensure that people calling us from outside of Northampton don’t end up paying more for their call.

“Eventually, this will be the main number for all county council services, instead of customers having to choose between an extensive range of council telephone numbers – in fact, at our last count there were around 70 different numbers published.

”And most importantly, don’t forget about our hugely popular website which receives around 40,000 visits a week. It has information about hundreds of council services as well as many transactions that you can do online, 24 hours a day, rather than have to make a phone call.

“From school admissions to renewing a library book, www.northamptonshire.gov.uk is your first port of call for council information and services. And if you don’t have internet access at home, you can access the website at any of the council’s 36 libraries.”

The new phone number comes just a few months after the introduction of an iPhone app, Android app and mobile web browser which have been developed to make it easier for people to access the county council’s website whilst out and about, rather than making a telephone call.