A successful high-tech contact centre in Barrow could soon be bidding for more work.
The county council-run Consumer Direct centre, which currently provides advice to consumers across the North West, could be offering its services to other parts of the UK if the councilís cabinet gives the go-ahead when it meets next Tuesday (5 February).
Consumer Direct is run in Barrow by Cumbria County Council and Agilisys Ltd. with funding from the Office of Fair Trading.
The Furness centre is one of eleven set up to deliver the telephone and online advice service across the UK since 2005. It employs 50 specialist staff who provide free advice on how to sort out problems with goods and suppliers.
Cumbria's contract to provide the service in the North West expires in 2010. Between now and then, the total number of UK centres is expected to fall as other regions choose to shift their calls to a smaller number of larger centres.
The county council's cabinet is being asked to give officers permission to bid for this and other government-backed work as soon as it becomes available.
By continuing to expand the services provided by the Barrow centre, the council hopes to secure its long-term future beyond 2010.
In the three years it has been open, the Cumbrian centre has seen several successes. Last year, it was chosen by the government to pilot a new financial advice service. It is also in the running to take on telephone and online enquiries for a number of public utility watchdogs.
Councillor Gary strong, cabinet member responsible for community development and safety, said: "Consumer Direct has flourished in Cumbria and brought dozens of new high-quality jobs to Brrow.
"As the service enters a period of consolidation nationally, we want Cumbria to have the flexibility it needs to go out and win the new contracts which will help secure the Barrow centre's long-term future."
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