SOCIAL distancing measures have been put in place at St Helens Council’s Contact Centre.

To help protect residents and staff from contracting COVID-19, the council is currently operating a reduced counter service at the Contact Centre, based in in Wesley House.

The main reception desk is now closed but a reduced counter service remains open for urgent need only.

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Unless it is an emergency, residents are instructed to call or go online wherever possible.

“Residents are asked to take a ticket for the service they require, take a seat and wait to be called over,” a council spokesman said.

“Seating has been reduced and distanced.

“Before you come into reception, please stop and think: Is this an emergency?

“Could you call us or access our online services instead?”

Members of the public have also been assured that infection control processes are in place, with council staff taking a number of steps to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“We’ve been following the advice from Public Health England and taking all the precautionary action necessary to make sure council services and buildings are safeguarded for the public and our staff,” a council spokesman said.

“The council has followed the robust infection control processes advised by Public Health England and the NHS.

“We’ve also taken additional steps, including sharing good hygiene information and advice with all staff and providing them with the latest information from the government.”

Several other changes have been made to the services usually provided by the Contact Centre due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Face to face appointments for the council’s ‘Tell Us Once’ service have been suspended.

Staff are available to take appointments over the phone during the Contact Centre’s opening hours.

St Helens Star:

Applications for blue badges are being processed as normal, although new applications may take longer than 12 weeks to complete.

Badge holders whose badge is due for renewal will still be notified by email or by post 12 weeks before the expiry of the badge.

Preference will be given to those requiring renewal.

When badges arrive and are ready to be collected the applicant will be contacted by phone and payment will be taken over the phone.

The badge will then be posted via Royal Mail service.

Collection at reception will only take place if there are no other options and only card payment will be accepted.

To apply for or renew a blue badge go to

If residents are unable to do this online they can complete applications over the phone.

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Residents wanting to advise the council of a change in circumstances, change of address, apply for housing benefit or council tax reduction, are able to do so online.

Alternatively, you can call the benefits office on 01744 676666 or the council tax department on 01744 675255.

For applications for food bank vouchers, gas and electric vouchers, or white goods, residents are asked to call 01744 676666.