Details of how Local Authority services will be delivered in Tipperary from June 2014 were recently presented to the elected members of all Tipperary local authorities. This follows an in-depth study involving staff and Elected Members from both North and South Tipperary.
The opportunity to carry out a major review of how council services can best be delivered in Tipperary arises from an initial announcement by the Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government in July 2011 that Tipperary will have one County Council from 2014. This was followed by a further Government decision in October 2012 that all Town and Borough Councils in Ireland are to cease from June 2014.
These changes will see the nine local authorities in Tipperary (two county councils, six town councils and one borough council) merged into one organisation. The potential for duplication will be eliminated by the full integration of all council functions in one local authority. Further, the number of council seats in Tipperary will fall from one hundred and thirteen to forty. Council staff numbers will also decrease, resulting in a 10% payroll saving.
From next June we will retain Nenagh and Clonmel as the two main council centres to reflect the strong economic and social focus of both towns at either end of the county and Council functions will be divided across the two centres.
In line with the requirements of the National Boundary Commission, five new electoral areas, to be called Municipal Districts will replace the existing nine electoral areas. These will operate from district offices in Carrick-on-Suir, Clonmel, Nenagh, Thurles and Tipperary. Existing council offices in other locations will be converted to alternative community or commercial uses, leading to savings in running costs and overheads.
We will continue to deliver the full range of front-line services currently available to the people of Tipperary. This will be achieved by the almost 600 outdoor staff, through the network of district offices, supported by the two main centres in areas such as tenant liaison, social work, revenue collection, planning, road maintenance and environmental protection.
We are organising ourselves in a way that will result in a better service for our customers that reflects their changing needs and behaviour; when we examined how people interact with the Councils in Tipperary we found that nearly 80% is by telephone and so we are establishing a dedicated Customer Services Centre with highly trained and experienced existing Council staff who will be devoted to dealing fully with each query, unless it is more appropriate that a customer speaks with a specialist staff member.As well as high levels of telephone contact there is an increasing trend towards payments through Banks, An Post outlets, On-Line Payments and via Credit Card - over the phone or by post - rather than the traditional payments in person in the Council offices. The Customer Service Centre in Clonmel will be located in the existing County Hall and will be the contact point for all customers presenting in person in Clonmel. The current Borough offices will be used for back-office services. In Nenagh, the town and county council are already housed in the Nenagh civic offices. Customer services will also be available at the other district offices in Carrick-on-Suir, Tipperary and Thurles.This focused approach with District Offices and a dedicated customer service centre will ensure a more efficient service and eliminate duplication of services and staff which will result in savings of over €6 million per annum. The savings will be used to enhance the level of services across the county and a strategy is being developed to ensure that the most appropriate use is made of freed-up buildings in the best interest of the towns in which they are located and of the county at large.Over the next number of months, we will be in direct contact with our customers, suppliers, account holders and tenants, advising them of any changes that may affect them. Summary- of new Tipperary County Council service delivery from June 2014Headquarters in Clonmel and Nenagh.Five District Offices in Carrick-on-Suir, Clonmel, Nenagh, Thurles and Tipperary from where the current number of almost 600 outdoor staff (water, roads, environment, fire/emergency services) and 75 indoor (admin, technical, engineering) staff will deliver frontline services directly and provide cash payments facilities for customers who require them.District Offices will be supported by staff in the main offices in Clonmel and Nenagh.A trained Customer Services Team based at Customer Services Desks in Clonmel and Nenagh who will provide a county-wide service for customers calling in person or by telephone to Tipperary County Council.The introduction of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System for logging and tracking customer queries.Standardising the processing of requests, enquiries and complaints across the organisation to ensure that the response to customers will be consistent and independent of where the service is based. Continuing and enhancing the access to online services available to the public. Frontline services to the public will be maintained and managed by a District Administrator and District Engineer. In addition, an existing Director of Service will be assigned District Manager duties in addition to their current functions.