A better and more efficient service for customers is the aim of Falkirk Council’s new Advice and Support Hub soon to be rolled out across a number of new locations in the local area.

Following a decisions taken by the previous council to establish Advice and Support Hubs, first of which is based in Grangemouth, the service is now about  to be extended with two new locations will be chosen to deliver services in the Central and West areas as Falkirk Council’s Executive approved plans today (26 September).

The new service has helped to deliver more targeted services especially to those who need to greatest support in areas such as benefit entitlement; debt prevention and support and; maximising income.

Grangemouth’s East Hub has been operating for nine months and replaced the existing facilities in the town and in Bo’ness. More than 4000 customer visits are made each month to the Grangemouth Hub. In addition, an outreach service offers support in Bo’ness Monday to Friday.

Customer satisfaction indicates that the new operation is an improvement with 56% saying the service was better or much better and 77% of customers saying the advice and support they had received had helped them improve their circumstances.

New proposals will see hubs set up in Denny and Falkirk improving services for more vulnerable customers. Staff will also be working in various locations in local communities as part of a further outreach service.

While the purpose of the new arrangements is to deliver a more joined consistent service, it will also deliver savings for the Council by reducing property costs etc. Outreach services will be delivered in a variety of locations that will be determined following consultation with the community.

Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, Leader of Falkirk Council said: “The new approach is working with our customers, allowing them to access a wider range of services and it allows us to ensure that those in the most difficult circumstances get access to the right advice to help them with their often difficult situations.

“We have seen that with the East Hub model, we are succeeding in reaching these customers successfully and helping them improve their lives.

“The new Hubs will replicate what we have seen in the East however we will be looking to engage with local communities to determine the final locations for the new outreach services.”

Two locations are already being looked at for the new Hubs at Old Burgh Buildings in Falkirk and Carronbank house in Denny. It is intended that the new locations would eventually replace Callendar Square, Camelon, Denny and Stenhousemuir One Stop Shops along with Denny and Bonnybridge Finance Offices.