Residents who turn up at Renfrewshire House “in crisis” can talk to a member of staff - despite face-to-face services being managed on an appointment basis.

The reception at the local authority HQ in Cotton Street, Paisley, remains open and people can walk in without a booking if there is a matter that needs “dealt with there and then”.

The clarity was provided by Gary Innes, the council’s customer service manager, after concerns were raised at a recent Finance, Resources and Customer Services Policy Board.

Referring to an excerpt of a report, which said face-to-face services had resumed, but were “being managed on an appointment basis”, councillor Alison Ann-Dowling asked for a timeline for the reintroduction of a walk-in service.

She said: “I’m thinking in particular for residents who may be in crisis, particularly those who have maybe ran out of their mobile phone data or can’t make a call, maybe they’ve had to walk for considerable distance because they can’t afford a bus fare, and then they walk in and there’s no provision for a walk-in on an emergency basis.”

The council’s website asks that people “do not turn up without an appointment,” advising: “If you do, we will need to arrange for you to come back.”

However, Mr Innes said that people do still walk into the council building “on a daily basis” and, if the situation requires immediate attention, there is staff on-site who are available to assist.

He said: “The service has recently been driven by customer behaviour, so a lot of our customer behaviour changed over the last couple of years where people were reluctant to engage in face-to-face services, obviously, throughout the pandemic period and all of our services - everything that was delivered face to face - are now being delivered over the telephone.

“We offer all of our customers, who contact us for support, the option if they would require face-to-face support in addition to the telephone call and we can make the appropriate appointment for them.

“Our reception is open, so we do have walk-ins, we do have people who come into the customer service centre on a daily basis and if it is something that requires to be dealt with there and then, we’ve got the staff on site who can do that.

“Although appointments are being used in the majority of cases, we do still see customers who would walk into the building, on the off chance, to get some support.”

Councillor Ann-Dowling then asked: “So in effect we do have walk-in facilities?”

Mr Innes responded: “The reception is open, yes, so anyone can walk in and if the support is required face-to-face then we’ll give that.

“If the customer is happy to get that support over the telephone, we’ll equally give them all the details to contact and we’ll provide that.”