Strength of Boscombe community

I am sure you share in my shock and sadness to hear about the two terrible incidents in Boscombe this week.  Our thoughts, like many in this close-knit community, are with the families of those affected.

The two incidents are thankfully rare and we now know that the circumstances around the death of the man with the head injury is not thought to be suspicious. Nonetheless it is very sad that an individual has lost his life. I give my sincere thanks to Dorset Police as they continue to do a terrific job investigating what happened.

I thought it might help to reflect on all the good work which has been undertaken in Boscombe over the last few years.

Boscombe Regeneration PartnershipSince the Boscombe Regeneration Partnership began five years ago, a very successful multi-agency approach has resulted in improved outcomes in many respects.  Outcomes for young children in terms of their readiness for school have improved, under 65 deaths have fallen, access to health and well-being services has improved and the local economy has grown.

Churchill GardensThe work to improve housing and the environment continues and is shaped by the Boscombe and Pokesdown Neighbourhood Plan.  This community-led plan ensures that future developments in the area are through a planning framework fit for the area and its people.  Housing conditions are significantly improving thanks to Operation Galaxy – enforcement action has been taken against rogue landlords to ensure they improve the quality of the housing they offer.

We have purchased HMOs and refurbished them, making them fit for families and now private landlords in Boscombe are investing heavily in improving standards in the area.

Boscombe seafrontAnd let’s not forget, Boscombe is a growing destination of choice for many, famed for its vintage culture, vibrant street scene and fabulous beach and seafront.

We would all be forgiven for thinking that when dreadful events like this happen, then everything about the area is bad.  But the spirit and resilience of the Boscombe community is strong and enduring – we commend and celebrate this amazing place and its community.

Bournemouth Council and all its partners will keep the faith, and continue to work proudly with the Boscombe community with shared long term goals of transformation and regeneration, to improve further the quality of life for residents in the area.


Jane Portman

Managing Director

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What I learnt from working at the Council: be alert, resilient and grow a thick skin!

Shanice Taylor

Shanice Taylor, Marketing Assistant (BU Placement Student)

When I first started working at Bournemouth Council I didn’t know quite what to expect. To be honest with you, I didn’t even know where the Town Hall was!

I am one of very few Bournemouth University placement students working in the public sector. A lot of people on my course got jobs at swanky PR agencies in London or at Disney (which the big kid in me was very jealous about), however I chose a slightly different route.

I study Media and Communication at BU and the role of Marketing Assistant in the Corporate Communications team at the Council just seemed ideal for what I was after. It offered me hands-on-experience with services, events and campaigns, all of which are there to help or improve a part of Bournemouth in some way.

Creative Kids in BoscombeNow don’t get me wrong, at first I was dubious about what it would be like. As a student you don’t tend to get involved much with the Council. Unless of course you’re calling up about Council Tax because you’re received a letter and you just don’t understand what you need to do.

However, once I started on some engaging and thought-provoking projects such as volunteer recruitment, a homelessness prevention campaign and Boscombe regeneration (to name a few), I realised that my time at the Council was going to be captivating and I really wanted to get stuck in.

Working in the Communications team means you have to be resilient, alert and have a thick skin. We are the first port of call for press and media enquiries and for the general public on social media. We are the voice that represents the Council so what we do and say is extremely important. This role has rewarded me with a confidence that I never thought I would have and shown me what working in a fast-paced environment is really like. It’s also given me an extra cardio workout – there’s a lot of stairs in the Town Hall and who has time to wait for a lift when you’re running late in between meetings!

My role as Marketing Assistant has been varied to say the least, and I really couldn’t list everything. I have done a lot of digital campaign work, written press releases, created videos and online graphics and assisted with events management.

At the Joy Cafe, Boscombe

I have met a lot of people along the way and the teams I work with have made me feel like a truly valued team member. I would encourage any media student looking for a placement with a lot of responsibility, a dynamic atmosphere and in a fantastic location to apply to Bournemouth Council if you have the chance!

Receiving praise and thanks from Councillors, Service Directors and those who have been in the industry for decades, and knowing my work has made a difference – whether big or small – makes all the early starts, late finishes and hard work pay off. It reminds me why applying for the job was one of the best decisions I’ve made.

Being a media student, I often feel like a small fish in a big pond and feel unsure as to which route is best for me to take in my career. However, working at Bournemouth Council has given me so many opportunities to explore different aspects of communication and even perfect my phone voice (we all have one let’s be honest).

Beast From The East

Each working week, day, even hour I can be bouncing from project to project, wearing either my creative hat, my PR hat, my marketing hat or even my woolly hat when the Beast From The East hit us – that was an action-packed week at work that’s for sure!

My placement is nearly complete and looking back I can honestly say it was one of the most interesting and enriching experiences I’ve had.

Working in the Communications team is not an easy job but it is worthwhile when it promotes the fantastic services that the Council provides every day and when you see how it affects residents. I have had the pleasure of working with and learning from some amazing people who ultimately want the best for those who live here in Bournemouth.


Shanice Taylor

Marketing Assistant and Bournemouth University Placement Student

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Bournemouth’s Beach Lodges celebrate their first birthday!

Beach LodgesAs I was telling some of my lovely guests on the first birthday of the Bournemouth Beach Lodges I am thrilled to have been involved in this project from the very beginning!

Having been in the hospitality industry for 10 years, and the Manager here since April 2017,  the overwhelming success that we have enjoyed makes me both happy and proud,  particularly as we have already received travel industry recognition with a silver at the recent Dorset Tourism Awards – praise indeed!

Although my empire is small – there are currently just 15 stylish over-night stay Lodges on the Boscombe beach site  – my day-to-day tasks can be extremely varied, ranging from regular team briefings, safety checks, guest enquiries and check-in day Lodge inspections to attending marketing meetings, making partnership deals with local businesses and most importantly, ensuring our wonderful guests are happy, comfortable and having the best time possible.

Guest dogOf course my role as Manager working at Bournemouth Borough Council involves a lot of essential administrative reporting and paperwork but I think it’s also vital to take time to chat and interact with guests, and in some cases their dogs too!

In the first year of business the Bournemouth Beach Lodges have attracted a huge variety of people and groups from all over the country and further afield. I always love it when guests who arrive as strangers leave as friends, ideally returning on a regular basis! So, from any pre-arrival correspondence I like to note important details, such as whether they need prosecco glasses on arrival, require a high-chair or need a specific Lodge number. Whenever possible I personally welcome guests on their arrival and make sure they know they can rely on the team and I throughout their stay.

Inside the Lodges

Another aspect of the job is engaging with the local community. Other seafront businesses like Urban Reef or Sorted Surf School are vital to the success of the Lodges while it is equally important to have a positive relationship with the many Bournemouth residents who come and enjoy the miles of wonderful sandy beach right in front of the Lodges.

Being ultimately responsible for guest satisfaction requires a variety of skills and I like to think my passion for customer service shines through. Having one of the best offices on the Dorset coast overlooking the sea definitely helps and I can’t wait for the next chapter in the Bournemouth Beach Lodges story!

Happy Birthday BBL and Many Happy Returns!


Kim Bowden

Bournemouth Beach Lodges Manager

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Taking up an emergency bed for the night with St Mungo’s

The Beast from The East is biting hard again by 8.30pm, as heavy snow and icy wind whips around St Stephen’s church hall. The Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) has been activated and the St Mungo’s outreach team are welcoming rough sleeping clients inside, away from the freezing weather conditions.

Hot drinks for homelessThey are greeted with a hot drink, biscuit and some friendly banter. Andrew Teale and his team direct the rough sleepers to the main hall, where they find space to make up their bed.

Bedding is availableMost already have their own bedding, but there’s a ready supply of new sleeping bags and roll-mats. The hall quickly fills, as people neatly line the edges in front of a curtained stage.

It’s a chance for the team to catch up with their clients, update assessments and find out what support and assistance they need.

The ages and accents of the rough sleepers varies dramatically. Homelessness is indiscriminate and every client has their own unique circumstances.

The majority of rough sleepers in Bournemouth (and nationally) are male, but tonight several female clients have also accepted the offer of shelter. The team are over the moon, as this is the first contact they’ve had with them.

It’s crucial for St Mungo’s to connect with clients, gain trust and help them to access the wide range of support available. Whether that’s benefits advice, setting up a bank account or simply a new pair of socks.

They strive to help people move away from rough sleeping and work closely with Bournemouth Council, supported accommodation agencies, Adult Social Care, mental health services and drug and alcohol treatment services, amongst others. It’s a challenge, but one they face with care, always putting the individual at the centre of the support.

By 9.30pm, the hall is just under half-full. Some of the well-known snorers have been moved to the affectionately known ‘snoring room’ and quiet descends.

St Mungo's

But the reality is that a significant proportion of people rough sleeping in Bournemouth did not accept the offer of accommodation tonight. The reasons are complex and varied, but the team continue to try and identify and overcome them.

Here the doors are shut at 10pm and there’s a very strict policy of no drink or drugs whatsoever. As I leave to go home, I’m left with a feeling of relief and admiration for the outreach team and volunteers who work so tirelessly to support their clients.

I’m also much more aware of homelessness. It’s a weird feeling, seeing this parallel universe that exists right on our doorstep in places that are so familiar.

If you are worried about someone rough sleeping you can get information to the team by emailing  BournemouthStreetlink@MUNGOS.ORG or call 0300 5000 914.


Patrick Gough

Multimedia & Press Officer

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Future Dorset: one step closer

The Secretary of State, Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP has announced his decision to implement, subject to parliamentary approval, our Future Dorset proposal to replace the existing nine Dorset Councils with two new Councils.  One new unitary council will serve the area of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and another will serve the rest of the Dorset area.  The full Written Ministerial Statement can be read here.

Leader of the Council, Councillor John Beesley, said“I am extremely pleased that the Secretary of State has acknowledged the strength of the case we collectively made for a new structure of local government in Dorset, and approved the plans submitted to him. One council serving the established urban area of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole will help to protect essential frontline services, will serve all residents far better than the structures we have today, and will be able to positively and strongly represent the area at a national and strategic level, for the benefit of residents and businesses.

“Bournemouth Council has a successful track record of prioritising those frontline services that our residents value the most, whilst putting in place ambitious programmes of regeneration and housing, and returning a balanced budget or better each year. However, the financial pressures presented to all top-tier councils – that is, ourselves, Borough of Poole and Dorset County – in respect of meeting the rising costs of demand-led services of adult social care and children’s services, made the existing structure of local government unsustainable. Despite the best efforts of all councils in Dorset, the ability to squeeze value out of partnership working in its many forms has not and would not reap the financial and other benefits that will be achieved by implementing Future Dorset. I firmly believe public services will be better protected, the economic interests of the area promoted and the quality of life of residents will be improved even further being served by a single, new unitary Council for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.”

This is fantastic news for us all – and the decision has been a long time coming, as we submitted our proposal over a year ago.  The decision gives us much more certainty for the future and we are clear about what we need to do to ensure the new council for our area can operate smoothly from 1 April 2019.

We have a governance model in place to ensure our decision making processes are sound – this comprises of a Programme Board (Chaired by myself with membership of senior officers from Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole and Dorset) and a Joint Committee (Chaired by Councillor Janet Walton, Leader of Poole, with membership of councillors from the four authorities).

Our programme going forward will include the following milestones:

  • Completion of the disaggregation of services, budgets and staffing currently provided by Dorset County Council to Christchurch residents
  • Approval of the Structural Change Order by Parliament
  • Establishment of a Shadow Authority and Shadow Executive Committee
  • Decommission the Joint Committee
  • Approval of the consequential change orders by Parliament
  • Approval of the Medium Term Financial Plan and budget for the new authority
  • Completion of service planning for the first day of business
  • Appointment of senior staff
  • Staff successfully transferred to the new council

We look set to have a very busy year in preparing for the new council as well as continuing to deliver great services to all our residents.  We are all excited at the prospect of being part of a new large authority, serving approximately 400,000 residents, with all the opportunities for economic growth and development that will offer.  It is, indeed, a once in a lifetime opportunity that we intend to grab with both hands!


Jane Portman, Managing Director

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Volunteering: Join the kindness movement

VolunteersI have always believed that volunteering is a key element in the pursuit of happiness. I recently read a paper, published in October 2017, by Harvard Health that described volunteers as benefiting from something they call the “happiness effect.” They identified that ‘doing good’ is one of three pathways to happiness.

There must be something in that because Frances, a volunteer Panel Member, told me that: “working with young people is inspirational and fulfilling. You start off thinking that you’re going to give something to others but soon come to realise that it’s a two-way street. It’s probably the most enriching, satisfying thing that I’ve ever done.” 

At Dorset Combined Youth Offending Service (YOS) we have a team of 36 volunteers who span the whole of the county. From retired school teachers to ex magistrates and university students to the self employed. All have joined us to help offer encouragement and support to our young people.

Our volunteers work with 10 to 17 year old’s on Referral Orders – a contract agreed between the young person and volunteer panel members to prevent reoffending. In 2017 our volunteers spent 677 hours supporting our service and young people.

People volunteer for a variety of reasons. Many of our university students volunteer for us as part of their course. Last year Charlotte, one of our students, entered and won Bournemouth University’s ‘Faculty of Science and Technology Prize’ for outstanding contribution on placement. The YOS being one of three volunteering roles she took on. We had another volunteer attend the ‘Queen’s Garden Party’ in May last year; I was glad to contribute to his nomination describing all the great work he does for our team.

The volunteering opportunities at the YOS are very unique. As an appropriate adult our volunteers work alone with young people in custody supporting them throughout the whole process. As panel members they help a young person write a contract that forms the basis of what they have to do for their Referral Order. I always love to hear it when our team members describe the shock our young people show when they realise volunteering means our team do it for free. This disbelief then turns to comprehension. By doing it for free means volunteers must really want to help, that they care.

Volunteering is not just about the role, it’s often about the social aspect. Meeting like minded people and making new friends. At the YOS we organise social nights that encourage our team to relax and share experiences of life, volunteering and current affairs. Over the years I have been privileged to get to know these inspirational people and also get to call them my friends.

Volunteering for the Council, charities or other organisations can be incredibly beneficial. Not just by increasing skills, knowledge and confidence but happiness, friendships and self worth.

What’s stopping you? Find out more about volunteering opportunities now.

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An outreach worker speaks about the work that takes place to help rough sleepers in Bournemouth

Homeless manDid you know that the Council spends almost £10 million per year on direct services to help people faced with homelessness?

We fund 24/7 support at five hostels providing approximately 150 bed spaces in Bournemouth. We also fund a rough sleeper team – provided by St Mungo’s – to engage with rough sleepers to encourage take up of support services and accommodation to help them to move forward in their lives.

In an average month, the team helps approximately 15 rough sleepers back into accommodation.

We also take extra measures and initiate The Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) when we are alerted to freezing weather conditions. When SWEP is initiated we provide people with direct access to accommodation, and every effort is made to contact all rough sleepers and to get them inside. The SWEP also has provision to accommodate people who have a dog.

David Leatherbarrow, an outreach worker for St Mungo’s, recently spoke to us about the work he does on the streets of Bournemouth:

What are the common scenarios for why people are rough sleeping?

There are several reasons – it could happen to anyone. We deal with addiction, alcohol dependency and mental health. There are also situations where a few things just haven’t gone right for someone, they’ve made a few wrong decisions or life has just gone against them. Suddenly, service users find themselves rough sleeping. I think there are some public misconceptions but at the end of the day no one deserves it. Service users are just everyday people and we work with a varied mix of personalities. No one is a million miles away from rough sleeping.

What methods are used for those who don’t engage?

It can be as simple as just speaking to the service users. If we always turn up for them then eventually the cloud will be lifted and they will give you a chance. It’s the same as any relationship, they need to know that you’re doing what you say you’re going to do because you have their best interests at heart. We need to give our service users a reason to trust us. Everyone needs a bit of help sometimes.

What made you want to become an outreach worker?

I was in construction for years and then I went travelling for a month and the whole experience changed me. I looked around and realised I wasn’t doing anything with my life apart from construction and I was determined to make that change. I feel like I’m on a better path now, I just want to help. It’s the best decision I ever made.

I came across the position at St Mungo’s but there was no way I thought I would get it. However, my construction job allowed me to have experience working with HMOs (Houses of Multiple Occupation), benefits and a similar client group, so I wasn’t completely naïve to the situations out there.

How did you learn to interact and connect with service users?

That was one of my biggest fears when I started, would any of the service users want to connect with me? The rest of my team are fantastic though so I’ve learnt so much. At the end of the day, they’re just like you and me. We must ensure we fight their corner, support and be an advocate for them. Our service users deserve our respect and we must show them compassion and be understanding – those three things are huge in this job.

How important is it that service users develop skills and knowledge to help them move into accommodation?

If they don’t gain those skills, there is a massive risk of our service users returning to the streets. Therefore, our support with paperwork, CV’s, benefits, job centre etc. is crucial. We want to ensure that they can sustain themselves and move on from the rough sleeper lifestyle. Our multi-agency work with the Bournemouth Council, the supported accommodation agencies and the mental health team is a link that is utilised by all parties. We and the Council will continue to coincide to create successes.

What to do to helpWhat is the best thing someone can do if they see a rough sleeper?

Educating people about StreetLink (the organisation that enables members of the public to connect people sleeping rough with the local services that can support them) and the work we do at St Mungo’s will ensure that more beneficial forms of help are being provided for rough sleepers. The StreetLink app allows you to provide us and  local authorities with information about someone you see sleeping rough. We can then connect with them and offer support.

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Parks: our nation’s greatest invention?

Bournemouth parkDid you know that public parks were one of the very first public services, introduced to improve air quality, health and well-being for people in Victorian Britain’s growing cities?

For me, they are our nation’s greatest invention.

I love to join in the Parkrun in Kings Park, do a spot of people watching in the Lower Gardens or spend some time with my family in one of the many fantastic nature reserves we’re lucky enough to have in Bournemouth and beyond.  Preserving our wildlife and heritage is really important, but just as important is to create the heritage of tomorrow and to allow wildlife back into our towns and cities.

Spring really is on the way now; look out and you’ll start to notice purple or yellow crocuses in flower along our verges, and perhaps even some frogspawn in ponds. Just like the birds, insects and flowers, our staff throughout parks, gardens, nature reserves and cemeteries are busy preparing for the peak of parks activity in spring and summer.

Parks team at work

Most of our grass cutters and gardeners start early and finish early in a bid to be out of your way by the time you really want to get out into the park.

Right now, they’re out clearing litter by 7.30am, although come the height of summer many staff will be busy in our parks well before 7am.

Park CafesThinking about the amount of litter we collect every day, we support the global movement to eliminate plastic waste. Park Cafés – our in-house café company – have now moved over to completely recyclable and biodegradable take away packaging. The idea of our Park Cafés is that all the profits get reinvested into our green spaces as, in the current climate of austerity, we need to ensure that we do as much as we can to keep parks open and free for everyone to enjoy.

We’ve also started to install ‘Big Belly Solar Bins’ that automatically compact litter and close up to prevent waste being blown across our green spaces.  Better still, many of our nature reserves have no bins, so that waste can be taken home, sorted and recycled.

The next couple of months are our last chance to complete our tree planting programme for the year.  We have over 500,000 trees to maintain, and whilst our woodlands often generate their own replacements, street and park trees need a great deal of care and attention to establish, with only one in ten planted growing through to maturity.  If you’re thinking about planting at home, our plant nursery at Kings Park opens for 2018 on Good Friday, whilst Cherry Tree Nursery in Northbourne also supply great plants, year-round, as part of a charitable social enterprise project.

Flowerbed in bloomThis coming year our town has been invited to compete nationally at Britain In Bloom. The Parks Service will be supporting our local ‘In Bloom’ groups and the Bournemouth ‘In Bloom’ volunteers as they aim to win gold again.  We’ll be putting forward Muscliff Park for a Green Flag Award, to add to our existing eighteen Green Flag sites.  We’re making plans to replace the ageing art exhibition within the Lower Gardens to encourage more local produce, arts and crafts being sold in this space and help regenerate Westover Road.  In late spring we’ll be re-opening Redhill Bowls Pavilion as Redhill Fox café; and the old bowling green will become a tranquil nature garden.

Bournemouth Parks FoundationA couple of years ago, we worked with the Heritage Lottery Fund to create the Bournemouth Parks Foundation to help us meet the demands of funding beautiful parks, gardens and open spaces.  The Foundation is a charity and independent from the Council, with a board of local trustees. It collects donations and legacies towards park improvement projects and applies for grants towards them too – often acquiring funding not accessible to the Council.

Spend three minutes watching this short video from the Foundation:

Immense Night of ComedyIf you’d like to support the Foundation a little more – and have fun doing it – we’d love you to come along to ‘Another Immense Night of Comedy’ at the Shelley Theatre on Saturday 17 February in association with Coastal Comedy and with canapes provided by Urban Reef.

We hope to see you there!


Michael Rowland

Parks Development Manager

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Bournemouth’s first neighbourhood plan is unveiled!

The government is always tinkering with the planning system, but for me, neighbourhood planning is easily the most positive and exciting change to be introduced since I started work as a town planner in 2000.

Neighbourhood illustration

Neighbourhood planning gives communities the chance to come together and decide proactively how they want their neighbourhoods to look and function in the future. It’s been a long and challenging process for residents in Boscombe and Pokesdown to get this far, but after more than two years of hard work and with the help of planning consultant, Martha Covell of local company ECA, the Draft Plan is out!

Boscombe & Pokesdown

The plan is particularly ambitious as it covers a huge area – Boscombe East and West, with a population of some 22,000 residents.  It’s also very wide ranging.  Draft proposals include protecting the area’s built heritage, better walking and cycling links, promoting green buildings and bold policies relating to housing.  If adopted, the plan would set minimum internal space standards for new housing and require at least 50% of new homes built in the area to be three bed or more.


We’re keen to hear your views on the plan, especially if you live or work in Boscombe East or West.  It’s important for people from all ages and backgrounds to input into neighbourhood planning, to make sure the proposals reflect the needs of the diverse community.  You can view the plan and complete the questionnaire now. The deadline for responses is 2 March 2018.

word cloud - love

Although the process is led by the community, the Council’s planning department has a legal duty to support them. Our first task was consulting on and designating the boundary which proved tricky! I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no such thing as a perfect boundary but by and large the community managed to iron things out and we finally approved the boundary they proposed.

As things progressed myself and colleagues from planning, highways, regeneration, housing and economy have been to numerous meetings, provided evidence and made suggestions on all sorts of issues.

My biggest task was responding to the Forum’s ‘call for sites’.  They have been keen to embrace proposals for development that they feel would enhance the area.  I put together details of a series of sites around the heart of Boscombe which if developed could not only provide housing and other uses but also create better links to the high street, especially for those travelling by foot or bike.  The Draft Plan identifies a total of 18 sites for a wide range of community and commercial uses as well as housing.

BoscombeI live just outside Boscombe, but I’m in the area most days, on the school run, visiting the shops or cycling though on my way to work.  Boscombe is close to my heart so I’m looking forward to the plan getting through the final hurdles – which include a referendum where residents of the two wards will get to decide if the plan should come into force.

Bournemouth is lucky to have many neighbourhoods with their own identities and facilities and I hope this will be the first of many neighbourhood plans.  What would you plan for your area?


Sophie Leon

Planning Officer (Urban Design)

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Customer services: varied, never quiet and sometimes a challenge!

Contact centreMost people think of customer services as a call centre and, although most of our contact is via telephone, we also have customers that like to come in and talk to us in the Customer Contact Centre.

The types of enquiry or requests for help range from providing permits to hand out leaflets in the borough, to dealing with people who have concerns about their parents or elderly neighbours.

Believe it or not, we’ve even been asked questions such as: “why is there sand on the beach?” and “can I speak to the person in charge of the zombie invasion action plan?!” 

In a year we:

  • receive over 300,000 telephone enquiries;
  • interact with over 65,000 customers in the contact centre at the Town Hall;
  • handle over 100,000 emails;
  • issue over 2,000 parking permits;
  • welcome over 13,000 to the Town Hall main reception;
  • process over 13,000 applications for adult bus passes;
  • process over 3,000 Blue Badge applications;
  • manage 1,200 applications for free school meals;
  • attend 27 schools to brief parents on the process for children moving from year 6 to year 7;
  • and host outreach sessions at children’s centres each month and much, much more!

Customer services team

Each day, our team takes calls from residents who just don’t know who to call to ask about things so they call the Council, regardless of whether it’s to do with a service that the Council delivers or not. We always try our best to help wherever we can and it’s clear that people do trust us.

We realise however that we cannot please everyone all of the time. So, we just deal with each call, email or visit as it happens. One call we receive could be a complaint, and then we’ll put ourselves in the customer’s shoes and recognise that the issue has been important enough for them to take the time to contact us about it. Then the next call that comes in could be a hilariously funny and engaging customer, like the lady who told us that she was registering for the garden waste scheme “because I have a huge rear”!

Every day brings something new and challenging. This month it has been people wanting to register for the garden waste collection service. Since 2 January we have been receiving upward of 200 contacts each day and in total over 14,000 households have now registered (87% via our website).

In today’s digital world, we are seeing a subtle shift away from walk ins and telephone contact with customers choosing to use the online services available. It is clear that more and more people are wanting to interact with the Council at times of their choice and through their preferred channel. As the population of Bournemouth changes, (the average age is now 34), people are used to doing more for themselves.

Social mediaThis does throw us some challenges too! Customers expect answers more quickly nowadays, which means that waiting for a response for up to 10 days is no longer always acceptable. For us this means we need to change the way we work and how we think about future engagement, like becoming more active on social media for example.

Simply put, Customer Services is varied, never quiet, sometimes challenging, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

There goes the phone again…!


Stuart Walters

Customer Contact Manager

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