Alexandria and Dumbarton libraries.
By Democrat reporter
The Council’s One Stop Shop services are to be introduced into all libraries with the intention of enhancing support for residents and producing a saving of £150,000 a year. 

The Council currently has three centres providing walk-in support to residents with Council queries – Alexandria Library, Church Street offices in Dumbarton and the Clydebank Town Centre Office.

Under the plans, approved by councillors this week, the One Stop Shop team will join with Library Services and provide this assistance in all eight West Dunbartonshire library branches. The new facilities will be rolled out in the libraries over the next 15 months, enabling residents in places like Faifley, Duntocher, Parkhall and Balloch to access citizen services without having to travel to town centres.

The move will also see the hours available to support residents with enquiries increased from 105 per week to 287 per week. In addition residents will now be able to access face-to-face support at evenings and on Saturday mornings.

Cllrs McLaren and Dickson.

The change has already been piloted successfully in Alexandria where Citizen Services employees have been based in the library since April 2018. Both residents and staff have found it a positive move with a welcoming and calm environment to visit and work in. In addition the move has helped improve the library’s offer to the public and increase footfall to the branch at a time when visitor numbers across the country are seeing a decline.

Under the plans, the One Stop Shop team currently based in Clydebank Town Centre Office will move to the newly refurbished Clydebank Library where they will provide frontline advice and assistance, and arrange appointments with more specialist services. The Clydebank Town Centre Office on Sylvania Way South will continue to operate as normal for all other services such as Housing, Registrars and the Municipal Bank.

Integrating the One Stop Shop team into libraries and training all staff to do both functions, will further enhance the service received by residents.  The plans are designed to save the council £150,000 per year and will be implemented over 15 months to minimise the disruption to employees and provide plenty of time for training.

Councillor Ian Dickson, Convener of Corporate Services, said: “These changes will significantly enhance the services that people receive in their communities, providing face to face support in local areas and also increasing the times at which residents can access this service to include evenings and Saturday mornings. We recognise the importance of libraries in each area, and want them to continue to be hubs within our community. These plans will deliver on this, increasing footfall, providing access to books, IT and literacy and reducing isolation.”

Council Iain McLaren,Vice-Convener of Corporate Services, added: “The successful pilot of the One Stop Shop Service in Alexandria Library has proven that this approach works, with a number of residents engaging with the service who didn’t previously. This improvement further sustains our libraries,  increases access to face to face support for residents who want or need it while also generating a saving which helps to protect other frontline services.”

Will Library staff now find themselves working as part of the “new” service? The Council refused to comment to The Democrat.

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