Work on changes and improvements to the main reception at East Lothian Council’s John Muir House building will begin later this month.

The project supports increasingly smart and integrated ways of working with partners while improving customer experience.

The existing main council reception, on Brewery Park, Haddington, will become the building’s ‘Single Point of Contact’ (SPOC) – a one-stop shop for all customers and visitors.

The SPOC will have a fresh look and layout, with additional space for council staff to meet customers and handle enquiries.

A separate entrance on Court Street, currently used to handle customer payments and some other enquiries, will close to the public when the SPOC opens in early summer. These payments and enquiries will then be handled at the SPOC.

Plans are also being made for the relocation of Haddington Police Station to the former Sheriff Court building in 2020. The Court Street entrance will be used to access reception for the police station. A new Collaborative Hub will also be developed within John Muir House, enabling relevant council staff to work alongside colleagues from the police, fire service and other partners.

Councillor Jim Goodfellow, Cabinet Spokesperson for Community Wellbeing, said:

“The new SPOC will be a one-stop shop for customers and visitors coming in to see the council at John Muir House.

“All visitors – whether they are enquiring about a planning application, housing or welfare issue, paying a bill or attending a meeting – will be greeted in one place by our Customer Service team. This will be a much smarter and more efficient way of working, as the team will no longer have to work across two counters in the same building.

“This project supports our work to continue providing the best possible, joined-up service to customers, and meet new demands and expectations.

“We have also been developing our web based services to make it easier for people to interact with the council online. This helps the council become even more efficient and focus on delivering frontline services. This includes the new-look website, development of online payments and the introduction of a new on-line Customer Services Platform. It’s also beneficial for customers – meaning they can interact with the council at a time and place of their own choosing.

“This presents an opportunity to enable ‘smarter’ and more integrated ways of working between the council, the police and other partners to support the prevention agenda, to make a positive impact on as broad a range of outcomes as possible and further enhance public service delivery.”

The new Collaborative Hub will be an area for relevant council staff to work more closely with colleagues from the police, fire service and other partners on shared priorities. It will include, for example, the Scottish Fire & Rescue Scotland Local Area Liaison Officers and the council’s Safer Communities Team. Work is underway to identify the services that will be based in our use the drop-in/hotdesk facilities in the new Hub.

Work on the SPOC is due to begin in late February, with a contractor’s compound to be set up in advance on part of Peffers Place (the lane adjacent to John Muir House next to John Muir House), which will remain open to the public. The main reception is also expected to remain open to the public during the work and every effort will be made to minimise disruption.

Published: Tuesday, 5th February 2019