An authority has agreed to slash its telephone contact times by three hours saying the move will save it thousands of pounds.

West Oxfordshire District Councillors made the decision at an executive meeting on Wednesday afternoon (June 12) to limit the hours to 9am - 2pm resulting in a "total efficiency saving" of £250,000 to be divided evenly between it and the Cotswold District Council.

West Oxfordshire District Council.West Oxfordshire District Council. (Image: West Oxfordshire District Council.)

The out of hours service will remain unchanged and the decision was also made due to "a continuous decline in customer demand".

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The recommendation comes after implementation of a "successful trial" and a meeting paper adds: "Over the last few years, the council has been introducing new digital channels and improving those that already existed.

"This activity coincided with the Covid pandemic, where people accepted the use of alternative service access channels as a result of national restrictions.

Phone.Phone. (Image: Yui Mok/PA)

"The improvement in performance in those services means that the need for customers to make repeat calls has reduced.

"The uptake in digital channels has helped to produce a further reduction in telephone calls and, over the last three year, an increase of 350 per cent in the use of digital channels."

Speaking out at the meeting, Councillor Alaric Smith said: "The council has only received two formal complaints in relation to this service."

Andy Graham.Andy Graham. (Image: Other.)

The motion was seconded by council leader Andy Graham who thanked officers and staff and said it was "really down to them that the level of complaints is two".

Cotswold District Council would also need to agree for the change to be made permanent but an officer this was "quite likely".

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About the author

Noor is the Local Democracy Reporter for Oxfordshire who covers political stories from across the county

She began working as a journalist in Oxford in September 2023 having graduated from the University of Oxford.

Noor was trained at the News Associates journalism school and can be found on X through the handle @NoorJQurashi