Fife Council has been criticised after announcing that it is cutting back its services at the Leven local office.
The local authority announced that, from June 4, some services will only be available on Tuesdays and Thursdays, between 9am-5pm.
In depth face-to-face enquiries and appointments at the Leven centre will only be available during these times, although the office will remain open for other services as usual.
Fife Council had originally posted on its Our Levenmouth Facebook page that the office itself would only be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and that welfare and food vouchers would only be available from the Methil centre. This statement was later taken down.
Cllr Graham Ritchie claimed last year that there were ‘secret’ plans to close Leven and Methil’s libraries and offices, with services gradually withdrawn before the buildings were shut and sold off. Council co-leader David Ross accused Cllr Ritchie of “scaremongering”, while Cllr David Alexander said it was “not going to happen”.
Cllr Ritchie said there had been “zero consultation” about the decision.
“It beggars belief that Fife Council is targeting a town which has already lost so many facilities,” he added. “These cuts will hit residents who are already among Fife’s most deprived and vulnerable with more hardship. Whatever happened to Fife Council’s commitment to tackling poverty and inequality?”
Cllr Ritchie also called for the council to take greater care when announcing changes in the future.
Annette Mizerny, customer service team leader, said: “The changes we are making at Leven Customer Service Centre are to ensure we can still provide a range of services to Leven, Methil and the surrounding area.
“Appointments and in depth enquiries will also be available in Methil giving Levenmouth residents access to all services five days per week.
“The Leven Local Office will remain open Monday to Friday 9-5 and a Saturday morning allowing customers to carry out job searches or access the public PCs in the library.
“There are no plans to close either of the Leven or Methil offices and libraries in these areas.
“There is a drive towards more digital delivery of service, and that is largely driven by a demand from the public to be able to access the council in that way.
“However, it is also recognised that face-to-face assistance is a preferred option for many who wish to interact with the council. Any changes impacting on local offices would be subject to consultation.”