"Interim Report of the Fairer Charging Consultation"
Perspectives 2 Performance Review Team June 2003 Users’ views of Meals on Wheels in Derbyshire This is the second in a series of reports giving ‘at a glance’ consultation feedback to managers, staff and service users. The main findings of the consultation work managed by the Performance Review Team will be regularly presented in this format. The meals on wheels service was re-contracted in October 2002 in accordance with the recommendations from the Best Value Review. Apetito/Wiltshire Farm Foods now have the contract to provide frozen meals to Derbyshire residents. During November and December of last year and January of this year a sample of 1000 users were surveyed in order to gauge customer satisfaction over the period of change in contractors. Here are the findings of this survey. The overwhelming majority of users, over 90%, reported that they were always satisfied with the quality of the food when asked to comment on the variety, taste and looks of the meals. Comparisons with user satisfaction at the time of the Best Value Review, prior to the change in contractors, indicated that users are now more than twice as likely to report that they are always satisfied with the quality of the food. Again well over 90% of respondents said that the person who delivered their meals was always courteous and polite and the majority of users knew when their next delivery of meals would be. Just under a ¼ of users needed help in cooking their frozen meals with the majority of people who did need help, receiving it from a DCC home help worker. 94% of respondents felt that the meals always gave good value for money. Around 30% of users were purchasing additional meals. Over ½ of the users received 6 meals or more every fortnight. With nearly 2 people out of 10 receiving more than 10 meals per fortnight. When users were asked how the meals could be improved the most frequent comments included a wish for the vegetables and meat to be cooked for longer and having more gravy and custard on their meals. Many users felt that the foil packaging used originally was better than the plastic cartons that are now used. One user said that on one or two occasions the hot plastic lid had burnt their hand. Also many respondents said that they would like more say in when their meals were delivered. In addition many respondents expressed great satisfaction and gratitude for the service commenting on how the quality of the meals had improved since the change in contractors. Contact Louise Swain Ext (410) 2028 June 2003 (2) email@example.com -1- Background Reliability of the Results Prior to the Best Value Review, WRVS and Chesterfield Borough Council delivered The confidence rate achieved by the survey meals on wheels to service users in was well within the DoH guidance of ±4%. Derbyshire. In line with the This indicates that the results are robust recommendations of the Best Value and reliable with a margin of error of ±3. Review, the meals on wheels service was re-contracted from a hot/frozen meal Users’ Satisfaction service to a service that delivered frozen meals only. The new contract was awarded Users who were always satisfied with the meals to Apetito/Wiltshire Farm Foods in October 2002. 96% Currently over 3300 users are in receipt 94% of the service, with over 19,000 meals being delivered every fortnight. 92% % always satisfied This survey was commissioned specifically 90% to monitor the quality of the meals and the delivery service received by users in the 88% months immediately after the changes took place. 86% About the Survey 84% Over a 3 month period, Nov 2002 – Jan 82% 2003, 1000 service users were randomly Nov-02 Dec-02 Jan-03 selected from the Apetito database. An Month electronic survey form was developed using Variety Taste Looks appetising Access, allowing Call Derbyshire to directly input users’ responses to the On average over the 3 month period, 90% database whilst carrying out the telephone of users were always satisfied with the interview. quality of the meals. The remaining 10% were sometimes satisfied with the quality of Response Rates the meals. Call Derbyshire telephoned users Similarly, on average over the 3 month throughout the day. period, 94% of service users felt that the `meals always gave good value for money. Nov 02 6% of respondents felt that the meals 83% of the sample participated sometimes gave good value for money. Dec 02 About the Delivery of the Meals 70% of the sample participated The majority of people, 90%, knew when Jan 2003 their next delivery of meals would be. 96% 74% of the sample participated of users said that the person who delivered the meals was always polite and courteous. Some users did not want to take part No. of Meals Received because they felt everything was fine and they did not have anything to say. Other Over ½ of the users who responded, users simply did not want to take part in the received 6 meals of more every fortnight. survey, and some appeared to be too frail. June 2003 (2) -2- Nearly 2 people out of 10 users received Levels of Satisfaction Before Re- more than 10 meals per fortnight. Contracting As part of the Meals on Wheels Best Value No. of meals received every fortnight Review a postal questionnaire was sent to 80% 1000 randomly selected service users in Jan 2000. To give some idea of satisfaction 70% before and after the re-contracting of the service the Best Value questionnaire and 60% the recent telephone survey have been compared. 50% % always satisfied It must be noted however that the scales 40% used in these 2 surveys are not the same. As a consequence the compared 30% satisfaction level is for those who said that they were always satisfied with the meal 20% quality only. 10% % of users who said that they were always satisfied with their meals 0% Nov-02 Dec-02 Jan-03 Jan 2000 Nov 02 – Month Jan 03 39% 90% 5 or less 6 to 10 Over 10 Variety Cooking the Meals Taste 37% 88% Looks 42% 91% Fewer than 25% of users had their meals appetising cooked by another. Of those that did have ‘Quite fair’ their meals cooked by another the majority Positive Comments were helped by a DCC home help worker. Many respondents gave positive comments about the service throughout the survey Of the 25% who had their meals period. This ranged from general praise of cooked by someone else: the service to specific comments about how tasty, what excellent choice and 48% of users had their meals presentation the service gave. cooked by a DCC Home help worker ‘Extremely happy with the meals, especially impressed with the 34% of users had their meals presentation’ (Dec 02) cooked by a Partner or relative ‘Very good, would recommend them’ (Dec 02) 11% of users had their meals ‘Best thing that has happened’ (Dec 02) cooked by a Neighbour or friend ‘There’s more choice and the diabetic desserts are very good’ (Nov 02) ‘Very satisfied, I was in school catering Value for Money before I retired and think the meals are very good’ (Nov 02) 94% of respondents felt that the meals ‘The meals are much better now than always gave good value for money. In fact they were under the old system’ 30% of users said that they purchased (Nov 02) additional meals at the full price. June 2003 (2) -3- ‘I’m delighted with the variety, the taste be late afternoon so it can be awkward and the price of all the meals’ (Jan 03) to make plans for that day’ (Nov 02) ‘Fantastic service, could not wish for better’ (Jan 03) One user said that they would find it helpful if receipts were given when the meals were In addition, a few users acknowledged that delivered and paid for. there had been a few problems at the start of the new contract, but that they were now In addition a few users commented that the quite happy. wrong meal order had been delivered. ‘I wasn’t happy with the first two ‘I don’t always get what I’ve asked for’ deliveries but the service has picked up (Dec 02) and now, I’m very happy.’ (Nov 02) A few users said that they missed the Opportunities for Improvement contact from the WRVS drivers. Although user satisfaction was very high ‘I miss the personal contact of WRVS, respondents identified areas that they although I am very satisfied all round would like improving. These can be with the new service.’ (Dec 02) grouped into 3 main areas: 3. Packaging and Menus 1. Meal Quality A few users commented on the packaging Many users commented on the texture of of the meals saying that they preferred the the vegetables being too hard and meat tin foil packaging to the new plastic ones. being too chewy. Also some people felt that the meals were too dry and would be ‘Meals are supplied with plastic tops. improved if more gravy was served with the This is difficult to hold and can often main course and more custard served with burn the fingers.’(Dec 02) the puddings. In addition a few users commented on the size of the meals. Some One user asked if the menus could be felt that the portions were too small whilst produced using larger print. others felt they were too large. Conclusion ‘Only that the vegetables are a bit hard and could be cooked a little longer’ It is very clear that the great majority of (Jan 03) users are very satisfied with their meals on ‘Vegetables need to be a bit more wheels service. tender. Some of the meat is a little tough.’ (Nov 02) However areas for improvement have also been identified. These have been passed to 2. Delivery of the Meals the contractor for action. Many people felt things could be improved The Performance Review Team will now on if the time of the delivery was changed to a regular basis monitor the meals on better suit their routines. Some people said wheels service using a similar telephone the time of the delivery changed from week survey administered by Call Derbyshire. to week making it difficult to make plans. Users will be randomly sampled every Also some people said that they would month. The findings will be reported every appreciate better notice of changes to their quarter. meal delivery time. This will form part of a Comprehensive ‘Sometimes the meals are delivered in Survey Programme managed by the team. the morning but then the next time it can June 2003 (2) -4-