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Should Norwich City Council workers wear uniforms?

PUBLISHED: 17:00 27 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:45 02 July 2010

Home of Norwich City Council, City Hall - Council bosses are investigating plans for frontline workers to wear branded clothing to make them easily identifiable

Home of Norwich City Council, City Hall - Council bosses are investigating plans for frontline workers to wear branded clothing to make them easily identifiable

Kim Briscoe

Council bosses are investigating plans for frontline workers to wear branded clothing to make them easily identifiable. Norwich City Council is to investigate fitting out its workers with sweatshirts and T-shirts in council colours and with logos as part of a plan to make the council more accessible in the city's neighbourhoods.

Council bosses are investigating plans for frontline workers to wear branded clothing to make them easily identifiable.

Norwich City Council is to investigate fitting out its workers with sweatshirts and T-shirts in council colours and with logos as part of a plan to make the council more accessible in the city's neighbourhoods.

Council leader Steve Morphew said: “We are going to brand all our staff as we want to make sure the council is seen to be much closer to the residents in the area.

“The point about neighbourhood based staffing is that they are local and more accessible to people. So people have got to be able to identify council staff.”

Mr Morphew said that over time it could involve the introduction of uniforms, such as sweatshirts and T-shirts in the council's recognisable teal colour.

He said: “The idea is that is there is a problem, for example a street light is out, someone has fly-tipped or a pothole needs repairing then they can approach any member of council staff to report it and that member of staff will be expected to make sure it gets to the right department to be dealt with.

“It will be their responsibility on behalf of the council to take it up on behalf of the resident.”

Mr Morphew said they wanted each and every member of staff to become an ambassador for quality in the city, but it was important to consult with staff over how best to make them identifiable and how to do this in a cost effective way.

Kevin O'Grady, City Hall's Unison union branch secretary, said the idea would most likely be welcomed by the public and the union would be keen to talk to the council about the finer details.

However, he raised some concerns that it could lead to council staff being targeted by disaffected members of the public, in the same way that paramedics, firefighters and police officers are sometimes targeted.

He said: “Public sector workers can be targeted in some instances by disaffected members of the public and who is to say that city council workers might not get targeted as well.”

The plan is linked in to an overhaul which will see Norwich divided up into four neighbourhood areas, each with their own neighbourhood manager.

Those bosses would be in charge of clearly identifiable frontline council officers, including wardens and community engagement officers who would operate in those areas and could be approached by people to raise concerns and complaints about services face to face.

The new structure comes into place in April and will also see each neighbourhood manager given a fund of £5,000 to provide things for young people to do.

Mr Morphew said: “Previously young people have had to form a group with a constitution and a bank account and go through a whole pile of bureaucracy to access funds.

“We wanted to introduce some sort of small fund of money to enable us to engage with young people where they live rather than where we are.”

What do you think of the plan to make Norwich City Council workers more visible and accessible to the public? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE, or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk.

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