A Silverdale resident has achieved two personal goals thanks to a competition encouraging
households to save time and do it online.
Not only is she making her life easier by having a wide range of council services available at her fingertips 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, she has fulfilled a close family member’s Christmas wish.
Delighted Tracey is the lucky winner of a 64GB silver Apple iPad in a Council prize draw designed to raise awareness of its excellent digital capabilities.
Residents were invited to create, or log into, a My Account in the run-up to Christmas and correctly answer a simple quiz about the Council’s enhanced online services.
Tracey came across the competition after “going digital” for the first time by setting up an online Council Tax account, via www.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk – which enables people to complete a variety of popular tasks such as updating personal details, viewing their current balance, setting up or amending an existing direct debit and switching to paperless billing – where bills are sent via e-mail instead of post – which is cheaper, more convenient and environmentally friendly as it reduces carbon emissions through removing paper use and transportation.
She correctly identified that website visitors can submit and view service requests and enquiries, view recycling and waste collection days, sign up to the garden waste service, find a local councillor – and much more – at the click of a button. Tracey’s name was drawn at random from hundreds of successful entries by Deputy Council Leader Stephen Sweeney.
Following her positive experience, she has set up her new Council Tax account on the iPad and is now looking to apply for a Blue Badge online. She was also pleased to present the popular device to a relative, who lives with her, on Christmas Day after she was unable to afford the wishlist item herself.
Tracey said: “I’ve never won anything in my life so it was a complete surprise when I received the phone call. I’d forgotten I’d even entered. I’d had a really bad day so it was nice to end it with some good news. I couldn’t believe it; I was over the moon. It really made my Christmas. I’m not very good with computers but initially I wanted to have a go at setting up my own online Council Tax account. I’d heard it was much easier to manage online rather than contacting the Council by telephone, which can mean waiting in queues, and I also wanted to set up paperless billing so that I could store everything electronically instead of having pieces of paper lying around the house. It makes sense and works really well.
“I now access my account on the iPad, which is better for my sight as I wear glasses, and I always know where I am with my bills. I can also find out the latest news as well as my bin collection day. You can do pretty much anything on the website – I didn’t know that. It’s very easy and I would encourage anyone to give it a go. My relative really wanted an iPad for Christmas. They’re very expensive and I couldn’t really afford one so it was an amazing feeling to give it to her.”
More than 17,000 residents currently use the Council’s easy to use and responsive new website every month to get answers to their enquiries in a quick, convenient and efficient way.
Council Leader Simon Tagg, Cabinet member for One Council, People and Partnerships, added: “The Council’s website has undergone a major transformation which has completely changed the way in which residents can manage their interactions with us. It’s designed to make life simpler by providing constant access to popular services. There is so much that residents can do and new features are being added all the time. They can do what they want, when they want – in a fast, reliable and secure way – in the comfort of their own homes, or on the move, using a variety of different devices. It saves time, is cheap, flexible and very convenient compared to traditional contact methods such as telephone, e-mail and post which remain available if required. There are also significant environmental benefits for things like paperless billing.
“The iPad competition really helped to raise awareness that we’re a digital council. I would
like to congratulate Tracey on her win and I hope that her positive digital journey
encourages more residents to pay, report or apply for services online.”