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The Here We Are Story - past, present and future

A&BCSP-000 - Argyll and Bute Council Service Point

Here We Are proposed a link to the Council`s Servicepoint network.

Argyll and Bute Council had set up ‘Service Points’ on the islands of Islay, Jura and Colonsay. Cairndow had always been on the cusp of Cowal and Mid Argyll districts and felt remote from both. For this reason, we suggested we wanted to link to the Council`s Servicepoint network created for the islands. These facilities had already enhanced the quality of life in those places and we wanted to emulate this in a remote and isolated mainland community.

What happened was that a computer link was installed in to council`s information system.  So local queries could be answered directly or to transfered to the appropriate member of council staff.

The service point was used to discuss such matters as planning applications, housing benefit, business advice, rubbish collection and so on. Equipment such as the laptop and powerpoint projector was used for presentations.

Deidre Forsyth, a Council employee, had been instrumental in introducing the idea to the islands. It had been shown that the servicepoint principle had enabled islanders to use different types of communications especially video conferencing, to reduce their costs in travelling to meetings on the mainland. As Cairndow was remote from any existing council or agency facility, a service point could provide a similar role here.  It was the first time a mainland community has been enabled to provide council services.

A service level agreement was drawn up between the council and Here We Are, to ensure that council and other agencies were clear as to what was provided by the Council locally. It also confirmed Here We Are’s revenue input from the council.

The scheme worked relatively well, but unfortunately was discontinued in one of the Council’s austerity cuts, and so far has not been re-instated.

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