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Newport City Council to adopt digital only services with no phone option

NEWPORT City Council is to adopt a “digital first” approach as it moves more services online.

At a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, April 12, the council’s digital strategy 2023-28 was supported. The report revealed the council intends to redevelop its website and push the use of its ‘My Newport’ app.

You can now report fly tipping or dog fouling, pay for music lessons, pay council tax and ask for housing advice online.

Earlier this month the council confirmed that residents are no longer able to ask for extra bins, report a missed collection, or book an appointment for the tip over the phone. These services must now be requested online.

Conservative campaigner and St Julians resident Michael Enea criticised the council’s move to online and said: “Some people simply cannot use computers. How are they meant to access these services?

“I accept there is a gradual shift to accessing online services in society in general. But to ‘switch off’ the phone option totally for certain services is just heartless.”

At the meeting, Councillor Debbie Harvey, cabinet member for community wellbeing, said those who struggle with technology can visit libraries or council offices for help.

Cllr Dimitri Batrouni, cabinet member for organisational transformation, said the council was going through a “cultural transformation”.

He added: “Just saying no to change – we’re not going to accept that.”

Cllr Batrouni, who represents Gaer, added that artificial intelligence is a leading feature in the public services space.

Children’s access to devices and participating in online learning is a priority for the council, according to the deputy leader Deb Davies, who is also the cabient member for education.

The digital strategy also includes a push towards hybrid working, with more council staff working from home.