CAERPHILLY council has disputed claims by Plaid Cymru that it will close the reception at its Penallta House offices.

The leader of the council’s Plaid Cymru opposition group, Cllr Colin Mann, says an “impeccable source” informed him that the main reception in Ystrad Mynach was to be “boarded up”.

It was also alleged that the move was “buried” in approved budget proposals for the 2019/20 financial year, where a management restructure was saving the council £108,000.

Cllr Mann said: “Most councillors would have missed this and, given the significant change in service, it should have been highlighted to members by the Labour administration but, clearly, they preferred a fait accompli.

“The incredible plan I’m told is to replace personal service with a self-service point.  Some of the present receptionists will end up wandering around with laptops to help members of the public, many of whom won’t have a clue of how to use the new system.

“If reception in the council headquarters is being abolished, what is the prospect for other frontline services?”


He added: “Some of our most vulnerable residents, who probably go to Penallta House because they are not comfortable with technology, will be confronted with this and that’s not acceptable.”

The council confirmed £108,000 was being saved through a management restructure but said it would have no impact on frontline services or service delivery to the public.

Self-service scanning is currently being trialled by staff to speed up response times at the council’s customer services desk.

But Cllr Colin Gordon said that face-to-face services will still be provided to residents “where appropriate”.

The cabinet member for corporate services said: “This approach has been well received to date and is reflected in our recently adopted Customer and Digital Services strategy.

“The £108,000 savings in the budget that Cllr Mann refers to is simply a management restructure which has no impact on frontline services or service delivery to members of the public.

“I must re-emphasise that there have been no discussions to date to consider ‘abolishing’ the reception at Penallta House.”