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Save time, go online to access council services

Idea Store Whitechapel - staff member in digital hub

Council staff are ready to assist residents in the digital hubs across our Idea Stores

  • Council’s most popular transactions now available online, making it easier for Tower Hamlets residents to get things done
  • Free technology and support available in Idea Stores

Whether it’s updating a council tax account, applying for a parking permit or booking an appointment to register a marriage or a new baby, Tower Hamlets Council’s most popular services can now be accessed online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The changes are enabling residents to get things done from the comfort of their own home or on the go, without needing to call or queue. They will save time for residents and save public money, which can be reinvested into other services.

As more council transactions have been made available online, the number of people visiting the council’s One Stop Shops has significantly reduced. At the same time, the council has been investing in its five Ideas Stores so residents have free access to Wi-Fi and computers with staff on hand to help.

As a result, One Stop Shops at Chrisp Street and Bow will be closing on 17 January 2020. After this date, residents will need to access council services online or get support at nearby Idea Stores.

The counter service at the Bethnal Green One Stop Shop (Rushmead) will also stop on 17 January however the service provided by Tower Hamlets Homes will continue. Tower Hamlets Homes has also taken over the running of the building, but assistance with council transactions will still be available here for those who need it, by appointment.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: "Increasingly people now manage their lives online and council services should be no different. Residents can still access face to face personal support when they need it. Ultimately, this is the best way we can provide high quality and more convenient services to residents while also making vital savings, which we have to make in the face of continued government cuts.

“Staff have been working really hard to bring transactions online, which has offered some challenges. We would like to thank residents for their patience during this time. We will continue to improve and build on our digital services based on feedback we receive.”

Residents have been saying that it is difficult to get through to the council by phone and they were fed up of waiting in long queues at One Stop Shops. With 92 per cent of people living in Tower Hamlets having access to the internet, many have also said they would like to access services through the council’s website. Redirecting these residents to their preferred way of getting in touch will mean the council can focus on those who need more support.

Councillor Sabina Akhtar, Cabinet Member for Culture, Arts and Brexit said: “Our investment in digital technology means our residents can carry out transactions with the council any place, any time. This is easier and more efficient than having to call, queue or post paper forms.

“For residents who would like support with accessing our services online, we have made free Wi-Fi and computers available in our much loved Idea Stores, with staff on hand to help.”

Find out more about these changes, which are being delivered as part of our Save Time, Go Online campaign.

Posted on Tuesday 14th January 2020