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					Consultation on the Environment Agency’s Customer Charter In 2001 we revised our Customer Charter to take account of many of the changes that had occurred since 1997, when the previous edition was published. The 2001 update did not involve a review of the commitments made in the Charter, and consequently customers’ views were not sought. However, at that time we made a commitment to a full consultation with customers this year. This questionnaire is designed to enable you to make comments on all aspects of our customer service. It is divided into five short sections, each of which will pose a number of questions based on possible changes to our Charter. For most questions, multiple choice answers allow you to confirm your preferred response(s). However, at every stage you are also provided with the opportunity to make relevant additional comments, and the final section allows you to give us feedback on any remaining issues that you wish to raise. Any queries, or completed questionnaires should be directed at Nick Johnston, Customer Charter Project Manager E-mail Mail Fax Telephone Rio House, Waterside Drive, Aztec West, Almondsbury, Bristol, BS32 4UD 01454 624319 01454 624081

If you want to refer to our existing Customer Charter when considering your response, this can be downloaded from the link in the ‘see also’ section, or a paper copy obtained from Nick Johnston. Responses to this consultation may be made public unless confidentiality is specially requested. The opportunity to opt out is provided in the first section of the questionnaire.

Section A Context

About You The Agency deals with a wide variety of people with a range of different needs and interests. Please use this section to help us to understand what type of customer you are, which of our services most interest you, and to give us initial feedback on any experience you may have had with our Charter. &

Your name address

Your position & organisation (if any) Are you happy for your response to this consultation to be made public? How well do you feel you understand the Agency and what it does? (Please tick the relevant box) 1. Very well 2. Reasonably well 3. Not very well How often are you in contact with the Agency (including visits to its website)? (Please tick the most relevant box) 1. Daily 2. Weekly 3. Monthly 4. Annually 5. Infrequently/not on a regular basis What are the service(s) in which you are most interested? (Please tick any relevant services) 1. Processing applications for permits (licences, consents, authorisations, etc) 2. Responding to environmental incidents (eg. pollution) 3. Providing advice and information (including flood warning) 4. Dealing with complaints 5. Other services (please describe below, and rank appropriately) Yes No

Have you ever applied for a permit from the Agency? If so, were you satisfied with the service you received? Have you ever reported an environmental incident to us? If so, were you satisfied with the service you received? Have you ever requested information from the Agency before? If so, were you satisfied with the service you received? Have you ever had reason to complain to us about our service? If so, were you satisfied with the way your complaint was handled?

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

No No No No No No No No

If you were dissatisfied with any of our services and would like to tell us why, please provide comments in the box below:

Have you referred to our Charter before? If you have referred to our Charter, what was the reason? (Please tick any that are relevant) 1. To find out your rights or what level/speed of service you should expect. 2. To find out how to make a complaint. 3. To find out how to get different types of information from us. 4. To find out about any charges relating to different services we provide. 5. To find out how to contact us. 6. To find out how to influence our decisions or become partners. 7. To find out about the structure of our organisation. 8. To find out what we do and how we operate. 9. To find out about our longer term goals and strategy. 10. Other reasons (please describe below, and rank appropriately).



Did you find it easy to find the information you needed?



From your experience of our Charter, do you feel that there is anything missing? (Please provide details in the box below)

Section B Context

Standards of Service The Agency wishes to ensure that it sets itself challenging standards for the services that are important to you, and that these standards reflect your needs, while still remaining achievable. Traditionally, the Agency’s standards have tended to focus on a commitment to provide a particular service within a set time, however there are clearly other equally important components that contribute to good service.

With which of the following statements do you most strongly agree? (Please rank the following statements in order of preference where ‘1’ is the statement with which you most strongly agree). 1. We should ensure that our standards define the quality of service you can expect to receive, reflecting politeness, fairness, professional behaviour and other things that are important to our customers. 2. We should simplify our standards so they are more meaningful to more of our customers. 3. We should make our standards time-limited so that it is clear how quickly you can expect to receive a particular service or response. 4. We should make our standards achievable (at least 90-95% of the time), rather than aspirational. 5. We should make our standards measurable so that you can easily tell if we have met them or not. 6. We should give you the opportunity to be involved in customer surveys so you can have a role in judging our overall performance. 7. Where relevant we should include a commitment to give you a clear and early understanding of the process we need to go through (including how we prioritise and make decisions), to provide you with the service you need. 8. We should include a commitment to provide regular updates on progress within standards relating to services which tend to take a little longer to provide. 9. We should include a commitment to publish reports on our performance against all Customer Charter standards, at least every six months. 10. Other factors which you feel should be addressed in our standards of service (please describe below, and rank appropriately).

If you have specific views on any of our existing Charter standards, please provide comments in the box below:

Section C Context

Dealing with your complaints The Agency wishes to ensure that it recognises, listens to and addresses complaints (including their root causes) promptly and effectively. Ensuring that customers are satisfied with the way their complaints have been handled is central to this. The Agency is also keen to know how different types of customers prefer to be contacted regarding their complaints.

Which of the following factors would be most important in demonstrating to you that we were taking your complaint seriously? (Please rank the following factors in order of preference where ‘1’ is the factor which is most important to you). 1. A named person was identified to you as being responsible for dealing with your complaint. 2. Your complaint was being dealt with at the most appropriate level within the organisation. 3. You were treated with respect, politeness and sensitivity. 4. You were being kept informed of what actions were being taken in dealing with your complaint (if it could not be addressed immediately), and when an outcome might be expected. 5. You were given an immediate response or acknowledgement within five days of your complaint being received. 6. A target of trying to fully resolve, and respond to, any complaint within a set number of days. 7. Where we have made a mistake, there was an early acceptance of that error, an apology and a commitment to try to address the cause of the problem. 8. The outcome of the investigation into your complaint was clearly communicated to you, with a full explanation, and a means of pursuing further action if you were not satisfied. 9. The person dealing with your complaint took the trouble to fully understand the nature of the problem. 10. Other factors which you feel should be evident in the way we deal with complaints (please describe below, and rank appropriately).

How would you prefer us to communicate with you at different stages of dealing with a complaint? (Please tick the relevant box) …when acknowledging receipt of a complaint Telephone E-mail Letter/fax …when providing progress updates Telephone E-mail Letter/fax …when letting you know the outcome of any investigation Telephone E-mail Letter/fax If you have any other views on the way we currently deal with complaints, please provide comments in the box below:

Section D Context

How to get information By providing access to the up-to-date environmental information it holds, the Agency demonstrates that it operates openly and credibly, helping others to pursue a better environment. The Agency’s Charter currently lists the main sources of that information. It also contains standards for making environmental information available on request. There is now a need to make more of the information the Agency holds available proactively, and to distinguish more clearly what is available through its website, national customer service centre (opening in 2003) and direct contact with its officebased staff.

What factors are most important to you in obtaining information which we hold? (Please rank the following factors in order of preference where ‘1’ is the factor which is most important to you). 1. The information is delivered rapidly. 2. Raw data is available without interpretation. 3. Data is interpreted by the Agency and information is made available. 4. The information is available electronically. 5. The information is available in paper format (eg reports). 6. The opportunity to talk to someone about your information needs. 7. The basic (untailored) information is available without any charge being made to you. 8. The information is tailored to meet your specific needs, but with a reasonable charge attached. 9. The information is provided concisely, and clearly. 10. The information is consistent and accurate. 11. Clarity of where to go for your particular information needs (and relevant sources of follow-up information). 12. Other factors (please describe below, and rank appropriately).

If you have any other suggestions on how we might improve your understanding of what information we hold or the way we provide it to you, please give comments in the box below:

Section E

An opportunity for any additional comments

If there are other aspects of the Charter which you have not had the chance to comment on, please use the space below to do so:

Thank you for taking the time to share your views.


This consultation is being managed in full compliance with the Cabinet Office Code of Practice on Written Consultation. Specifically:  it has been planned, and notice given, well in advance (ie. in the current Charter document);  it clarifies who is being consulted, on what questions, in what timescale and for what purpose;  it is simple and concise and makes it easy for readers to respond, make contact or complain;  it has been made widely available to the full range of our customers, on the internet and through the distribution of paper copies;  it allows 12 weeks for considered responses from all groups/individuals with an interest;  responses will be carefully and open-mindedly analysed, and the results and final decisions made widely available by March 2003;  an evaluation of the consultation will be carried out to ensure that lessons are shared, and that future consultations improve accordingly. If you have any comments or complaints on how this consultation has been managed, please contact Robin Chatterjee, Environment Agency Consultation Coordinator E-mail Mail Fax Telephone Rio House, Waterside Drive, Aztec West, Almondsbury, Bristol, BS32 4UD 01454 624319 01454 624081

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