COTSWOLD District Council has announced changes to its call centre hours to help alleviate budget concerns.

At a full CDC council meeting on Wednesday, September 20 council leader Joe Harris announced that tough decisions would have to be made in the next few years to avoid going bankrupt like Birmingham Council.

Cllr Harris stated that some services would have to be reduced, scrapped or completely transformed. 

This week CDC has announced that one of the cost saving measures to be implemented is a reduction in its phone line opening hours. 

From Wednesday, October 18 onwards CDC's telephone line will only be manned between the hours of 9am to 2pm Monday to Friday. 

It has been estimated that this change will save the council more than £119,000 every year, helping offset the impact of years of reduced funding and increasing costs as a result of inflation.

In-person services at the council’s offices in Cirencester and Moreton-in-Marsh will remain unaffected and CDC wants to invest more time into improving its online services.

It has seen a trend in more residents opting to use its online service, rather than calling the council offices directly.

For example, the number of calls CDC offices received from residents between 2021 to 2022 had reduced by more than 20 per cent while the activity on the council's website had tripled.

Cllr Tony Dale, cabinet member for the economy and council transformation, said: “This decision is fundamentally about two things - saving money to protect vital local services and adapting to the needs of our residents.

“Reducing our customer service telephone hours is not a decision we take lightly but we are having to make difficult decisions as the Government has cut the council’s funding by more than 50 per cent over the past 13 years and the impact of inflation continues to bite.

"Our number one priority is to prevent the CDC from going bankrupt like Birmingham Council recently has.

“This change will help protect essential services, improve our response times during lunch hours when many working people call and help us provide good quality online services residents have come to expect.

“We understand that not all residents will be able to use our online services so we will continue in-person services at our offices in Trinity Road and Moreton Area Centre as well as maintaining our phone lines from 9am to 2pm Monday to Friday.”

Many services such as reporting problems, checking waste collection days and making payments are available online.