Ongar Information Centre Partnership

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The introduction of new technology and joint working arrangements by two councils will improve local communication services. Internet and face to face information services are receiving a boost to resources as part of a plan by Epping Forest District Council and Essex County Council. By working together, the two councils are freeing up staff time for reallocation to the District Council`s website, Ongar Information Centre and Ongar Library.

New technology at Ongar Library later this year will allow library staff to take on more customer focused information roles, including information about Epping Forest District Council. By providing Ongar Information Service in partnership with Essex County Council rather than directly, Epping Forest District Council will be able to reallocate staff time in support of the District Council`s website.

Sue Dobson has been the part-time information assistant at the District Council Information point in Ongar Library since November 2001. From 16 January Mrs Dobson will begin a phased relocation to Epping, completing a plan to increase the Council`s web support staffing. Initially her hours at Ongar will be reduced from three half days per week to one half day (Wednesday). Library Manager Sandra Dear and her staff will ensure a smooth continuation of the service. The introduction of new self-service technology will release library staff for more customer support roles.

The transitional handover phase will be completed following work to redesign the interior layout of Ongar Library scheduled for the Summer.

Councillor Stephen Barnes, People First Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council said: I am delighted with the plans for Ongar and our website. This is an excellent example of two Councils embracing new technology and working together for the benefit of the whole community.

County Councillor Iris Pummell Cabinet Member for Community Services said: I am very pleased that by continuing to work in partnership with Epping Forest District Council we are able to provide aseamless council information service to the people of Ongar.

Epping Forest District Council Information Assistant Sue Dobson will be available at Ongar Library from 9.30am to 1pm on Wednesdays. To visit the Epping Forest District Council Website go to www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk. Information Centres are also provided directly by Epping Forest District Council at the Civic Offices in Epping, the Town Hall in Highbridge Street, Waltham Abbey, adjacent to Loughton Library at Traps Hill, and in partnership with the Parish Council at Queens Road in Buckhurst Hill.

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