FEEDBACK FROM CONSULTATION ON CUSTOMER SERVICE STRATEGY - NOVEMBER 2006 COMMENT RESPONSE ACTION Vision 1 Phrase is in common use now ie Audit Noted Dislike the phrase 'customer focused'. Commission 2 Put more emphasis on partnership working - putting partners Partnership thread runs through document Noted at the heart of everything we do. 3 The term ‘Service Users’, ‘Citizens’ or ‘Members of the Phrase is in common use now ie Audit Noted Public’ would be more appropriate within the strategy than Commission Customers, as the Council was a public service and the term Customers was more relevant in business or retail. However, other people were content with the use of the term 'Customer' considering that people were paying for and should expect an acceptable level of service. 4 There was a need to include greater emphasis on the value Objective 3 (Customer Care) of Noted of customers within the strategy. It had been considered that improvement plan considers ways of the newly introduced system at reception prevented empowering staff to deliver customer members of the public from gaining access to the service excellence and promoting a culture appropriate Housing Officers. Feedback to Councillors from of customer service. Comments not tenants stated that they often felt that their issues had not reflected in customer satisfaction monitoring been satisfactorily addressed and that they had not been undertaken to date. treated with respect. 5 There was a clear view that this strategy is an important Include a short summary of the strategy for Included in improvement plan in document for developing a strategic view on customer public information. Action 2.7. services for the Borough Council. However, it should be treated primarily as a council / partnership document for guiding action and measuring progress and not as a document to be sent out to residents (unless specifically requested). 6 The vision, objectives and impact for this strategy could be Include new section at beginning entitled See revised draft strategy. simplified – showing clearly ‘what will be different’ as a result introduction and amend section 1 (our of the strategy – similar to the way illustrated in the corporate vision) to reflect new corporate plan. strategy. The link with the Corporate Strategy, national publication from the Audit Commission and Idea, and links to some of the Service and Community strategies could be included as a background note prior to the introduction or elsewhere in the document. It may be helpful to focus the introduction to this strategy on the vision and objectives relevant to this strategy. 7 A starting point in the strategy could be clarity about the Include this information in the Introduction See revised draft strategy. services provided by the Borough Council and an indication section of the strategy. of the services where the Council supports other partners. There was some discussion about exploring the scope to relate the services referred to in the standards to the strategy. 8 A starting point should be clarity about the services provided The mapping of partnership relationships is Included in improvement plan in by the Borough Council and an indication of the services more appropriate through partnership Action 9.6. where the Council supports other partners to improve the management activity and service planning. quality of life of Borough people. There was some discussion about exploring the scope to relate the services referred to in the standards to the strategy as this would help to strengthen the strategy making it more understandable, realistic and measurable. Customer Access 9 This is not put into practice - i.e.: no-one is available on the Objective 2 (Customer Access) of the Noted telephone in the planning department in the mornings; the improvement plan will highlight areas of procedure for viewing planning applications has deteriorated concern in all service areas. This will lead to rather than improved with the introduction of the customer reviews of access arrangements to meet service centre; the receptionists in main reception have too customer needs and value for money. much to do and get too involved in resolving individual's problems that you can queue up to 10 minutes just to get to a receptionist. 10 Like the new planning department information on the web Noted site. 11 Greater emphasis should be put on mobile working, use of Included in section 3 (Customer Access) of Noted IT and home visits to increase access. strategy. 12 In partnership - work with service providers at these access Included in section 3 (Customer Access) of Noted points to ensure appropriate access to all services. strategy. 13 Additional staff should be available in the Contact Centre at Will be addressed as part of the monitoring Noted busy periods in order to meet answering time targets. of individual service standards and through service planning. 14 Further consideration should be given to support people with Included in section 3 (Customer Access) of Increased internal and external English as a second language. Specifically for older people strategy. promotion of this service from ethnic minority communities, who required a more included in improvement plan in personal service finding it difficult to contact the Council by Action 5.19. telephone or electronically and the new Polish community establishing itself in the Borough who might not understand the system. Families from ethnic minority communities often sough the assistance of their children, the Charnwood Racial Equality Council or Community Centres to interpret and complete forms which could hid the depth of the problem. Further information is required in respect of the availability of interpreters. 15 More promotion of the Language Line service is required. Agreed. Increased internal and external Reference could be made to the availability of this service in promotion of this service Council publications. included in improvement plan in Actio 5.19. 16 Technology. In addition to providing ICT/computer access, To be considered as part of the telephony Included in improvement plan in explore the scope of providing telephone technology. The improvement programme. Action 8.13. SureStart single button phone could be piloted in some additional areas. 17 There should be a focus on efficient use of resources and if Included in section 3 (Customer Access) of Noted service delivery via the web is more cost effective then more strategy. should be done to encourage this and help clients to be empowered to use this means – e.g. increasing access to computers in old people’s homes or in deprived areas. 18 Too many published telephone numbers - these need to be To be considered as part of the telephony Included in improvement plan in reduced. improvement programme. Action 8.13. 19 Work in partnership with other councils to provide a county- Consideration is being given to alternative Noted wide 24 hr Lifeline service. approaches to Lifeline provision at County wide level. 20 Identify and develop partnership opportunities in the Partnership thread runs through document Noted governance of customer services. Customer Care 21 Explanation needed of what is 'front' and 'back' office. Give an explanation of terminology. See draft strategy (section 2.8) 22 The booths in the customer service centre are not private An annual review of all access channels is Included in improvement plan in enough and you can hear other people's personal included in the improvement plan in Action Action 2.2. information/problems. 2.2. Private rooms are available. 23 There was a lack of privacy for members of the public when An annual review of all access channels is Included in improvement plan in speaking to a receptionist in the new reception area. included in the improvement plan in Action Action 2.2. 2.2. 24 Should be a section on what we expect from our customers. Include a section in our customer service See draft service standards. standards. 25 Reference had been made in the strategy to appropriate Noted. Included in improvement plan in customer care training for all staff and Councillors. Action 3.3. Councillors should ensure that they took part in that training. 26 There should be a rolling programme of training and Programme being developed as part of Noted secondments to ensure new/current staff receive ongoing PDR process. training on individual services provided by the council. 27 There is no formal customer service training qualification. Currently in improvement plan for action in Noted Nov 06. 28 There is no partner involvement in customer service training. Work closely with service delivery partners Included in improvement plan in to achieve standard levels of customer Action 3.4. service. 29 Empower staff to take action and be innovative. Currently in Objective 3 of improvement Noted plan. 30 Include the definition of what constitutes acknowledgement Noted. Included in improvement plan in of a service request, closure of a case and fulfillment of a Action 3.19. transaction and define at what point and how (including automatic generation of emails, etc) communication will be made with the customer. Include the percentage of enquiries that will be resolved at first point of contact. 31 There is no consistency in the approach to the customer as it Create a FAQ database for use by all Included in improvement planin relies solely on the experience of the staff member. staff/councillors which incorporates other Action 8.14. organisations that customers can be directed to. Will also be achieved through CRM scripting. 32 What other organisations have customers been directed to Create a FAQ database for use by all Included in improvement planin in the past. staff/councillors which incorporates other Action 8.14. organisations that customers can be directed to. 33 Refreshment facilities would improve the customer service An annual review of all access channels is Included in improvement plan in centre waiting area. included in the improvement plan in Action Action 2.2. 2.2. Customer Engagement 34 Noted Noted CBC consults well and acts upon that feedback but too much time is spent listening to the views of minority groups. 35 People participating in the consultation process should feel Included in section 5 (community Noted that their views had been considered. engagement) part of the strategy (our commitment to 'you said,we did'). 36 Further consideration should be given to who the Council Included in section 5 (community Noted consulted with. It was often perceived that people wishing to engagement) and section 6 (diversity and participate in consultations were either dissatisfied with the equality) parts of the strategy. existing process or were middleclass residents who knew how to participate to their advantage. Efforts should be made to involve hard to reach communities. 37 The Call Centre could become involved with customer This is already happening where resources Noted satisfaction surveys. permit. 38 Expand the role of the citizen's panel/active communities. Noted To be developed through the Consider how to involve the Citizens Panel in the ongoing Community Cohesion Agenda development and delivery of this strategy. Look to develop a network of ‘community champions’ and community leaders and encourage the creation of active communities that want to help themselves. 39 Develop a network of 'critical friends' to meet with senior Services already do this through service Noted managers to discuss the current approach to service delivery user/stakeholder consultation. and motivation of staff and how they might look to improve or do things differently. E.g. when attending public meetings, instead of 'presenting' to the public' they should seek to have more dialogue sessions in a conducive environment. 40 Take information and service information out to various Included in Objective 4 (community Noted community events such as fairs and carnivals etc. through engagement) of improvement plan. out the Borough. Have a market stall. Convert a vacant shop in the town centre as temporary service shop; send the front line service staff out into the community to promote the services, provide service surgeries in public venues such as libraries and town hall. Provide service information boards at staffed public conveniences and in super markets. Share the development and delivery of this action point with other service providers to minimise cost and develop efficiency. Introduce a general meeting on an annual basis to develop dialogue with chief officers. 41 Use the media to raise awareness. Develop a ‘regular Included in Objective 4 (community Noted service focus’ slot on the local radio, tv and other media and engagement) of improvement plan. use pictures to convey services e.g. on the recycling bags – this is more likely to reach hard to reach groups, especially those who cannot read. 42 Need to consider how the 'them-and-us' perception and Included in Objective 4 (community Noted image of the Council can be changed. There is scope in engagement) of improvement plan. terms of the quality of the personal contact between customers and council representatives, coming out more to where the people are, having really effective meetings with residents and followed up with actions or responses – not simply presenting to residents. 43 Consider developing more service feedback options at Included in Objective 4 (community Noted service delivery points e.g. at recycling centres, public engagement) of improvement plan. conveniences etc.. 44 There should be greater focus in the strategy about Included in Objective 4 (community Noted ‘communication / marketing plan to promote awareness of engagement) of improvement plan. services’ – focus should be on ensuring awareness for all. This could be part of the ‘Customer Engagement’ section looking at how services are to be promoted, especially targeting those groups and clients not currently engaging in the services. 45 There should be a real understanding of the different Include in Objective 5 (diversity and Noted communities being served e.g. business sector, young, hard equality) of improvement plan and Objective to reach, elderly etc and to share information in order to 7 (data management - customer improve the service delivery. segmentation). 46 Communicate in appropriate ways to different audiences – Included in Objective 4 (community Noted young, hard to reach, business – using different media to engagement) of improvement plan. raise awareness. 47 Use local papers to bring information/changes to the Included in Objective 4 (community Noted attention of local people. engagement) of improvement plan. 48 Make information available to school children who will take it Included in Objective 4 (community Noted home to their parents. engagement) of improvement plan. 49 Promotion and celebration. There is much the authority and Included in Objective 4 (community Noted its staff do that is praise worthy and more should be done to engagement) of improvement plan. celebrate achievements. 50 More needs to be done to consult with and test information Included in Objective 4 (community Noted on customers to ensure that information is clear, concise and engagement) of improvement plan. user friendly and to ensure that customers contribute to the design of the content and that they are involved in deciding appropriate media. 51 Instigate a regular (annual?) leaflet review. Included in Objective 4 (community Noted engagement) of improvement plan. 52 Provide guidelines on what information provided by partners Included in Objective 4 (community Noted will be displayed in the customer service centre. engagement) of improvement plan. 53 There is no single repository for customer comments and Included in Objective 4 (community Noted views and no clear process for dealing with informal engagement) of improvement plan. complaints. 54 More work is needed on analysing the findings of customer Included in Objective 4 (community Noted satisfaction surveys and benchmarking and publishing the engagement) of improvement plan. results. 55 There is no evidence that non users were being targeted to Included in Objective 4 (community Noted find out when they were not using individual services. engagement) and Objective 7 (data management) of improvement plan. Diversity and Equality 56 The voice given to differing groups needs to be fair and proportionate to their status. Small groups are given an equal say to larger groups and are given power without taking any responsibility. This distorts the outcome. Noted Noted 57 The Council had recorded achievements in respect of Amend the wording in this section of the See draft strategy diversity and equality issues. The reference in the Strategy strategy. to meet legal responsibilities regarding equal opportunities legislation could be reworded to show that the Council aspired to go beyond its legal responsibilities. 58 The use of the word average was too ambiguous in the Include the source of the data in the See draft strategy context it had been used in respect of ‘average household strategy. income’ on page 12 of the Strategy. 59 The Council should be congratulated on achieving Level 2 of Noted. Passed to Equalities Officer. the Equality Standard for Local Government. 60 Develop services and methods that will need to be deployed Amend the wording in this section of the See draft strategy to engage the 'hard to reach' groups depending on which of strategy. the 'hard to reach' categories they fall in. There is also a need to recognise that some groups/individuals are just not interested and are not going to access services no matter what support is provided. 61 Joined up approach to sign posting and linking into services. Develop a joined-up approach to sign Included in improvement plan in Develop an ongoing programme/ mechanism of raising the posting and linking into services. Action 5.20. awareness of and training of those staff from other agencies and CBC officers who have access to hard to reach residents/groups in order to enable them to promote awareness of CBC services and sources of help and information. This could be on a geographical basis or specifically targeting communities of interest. 62 Joined up approach to sign posting and linking into services. Develop a regular 'service delivery' awareness raising presentation aimed at some of the key networks operating in the Borough, thus training those who can sign post on behalf of the hard to reach groups. Data Management 63 No mention is made of confidentiality and sensitivity of Amend the wording in this section of the See draft strategy information. strategy. 64 Further information was required in respect of the meaning Amend the wording in this section of the See draft strategy of Customer Segmentation. strategy. 65 Sharing information. Develop a joint customer information Amend the wording in this section of the See draft strategy. Included in sharing protocol between agencies - bearing in mind data strategy. improvement plan in Action 7.12. protection issues. 66 The processes tend to be designed around the systems Amend the wording in this section of the See draft strategy rather than the business requirements. strategy. 67 There is a lack of customer demographic information. Included in Objective 7 (data management) Noted of improvement plan. Performance and Planning 68 The council spends too much time ticking boxes. In commerce financial information is the most important. Noted Noted 69 The strategy or implementation plan could include a section Amend the wording in this section of the See draft strategy on budget – showing how the money is spent at present on strategy. services. This could be used to highlight that finances are limited and choices have to be made about which services to provide and how to provide them 70 Be realistic and transparent about the cost of service Amend the wording in this section of the See draft strategy delivery and not raising expectations. strategy. 71 The council web site had improved and continued to improve, with basic information readily available on the front page. Noted Note to web administrator. 72 The quality of customer service activity data is not used to improve service delivery. 73 There are no clear plans for handling peaks and troughs in Include a review of and improvements to the Included in improvement plan in the contact/service centres and are restricted by current customer telephony contact and face-to- Action 8.13. contracts. face contact in accordance with the findings of Improcom Ltd and ROL in Objective 8 (information technology) of improvement plan. 74 Procedures to handle emergency situations are not in place. 75 Customer interactions are not always managed end-to-end. 76 The customer is not provided with a single view of their interactions which covers all service areas. 77 The hand-off between initial contact channels and service professionals is not automated. 78 Customers are not authenticated and transactions are not always secure and in line with a clear security policy. 79 The general telephony arrangements must be managed and administered more closely, including call logging and management equipment. Improvement Plan 80 There could be a section in the strategy on achievements Include note in the improvement plan which See draft strategy. and the progress made i.e. the ‘path traveled so far’ e.g. the will highlight actions completed from the establishment of a new department, staffing, strategy previous year's improvement plan. development, new IT systems investment, training etc. and a section on future service developments planned. 81 There is scope to include a section on ‘how progress will be Included in improvement plan in Objective 6 Noted evaluated and monitored’. It might be that this is an action (performance management). This also point for future development via the implementation plan as needs to link to existing service planning the information is unlikely to be available at present in time and performance management processes. for this strategy. Information such as what is the baseline position for each of the services provided? What are the priority services and why are they a priority? How has the decision to provide services been made? This would help towards becoming transparent in decision making. Explain what actions need to be taken to improve service delivery; what is working well and should continue? The monitoring should include quantitative information and also qualitative information based on customer feedback ‘you said - we did or we will…’ The development of this section which would include information on individual services could provide the link with the Service Standards. 82 The infrastructure of the telephony systems and Include a review of and improvements to the Included in improvement plan in arrangements require improvement including replacement of customer telephony contact and face-to- Action 8.13. the PABX, telephony servers, telephony software, contact face contact in accordance with the findings centre application. of Improcom Ltd and ROL in Objective 8 83 Telephony business continuity and local telephony resilience (information technology) of improvement should be improved. plan. 84 The administration and management of the contact centre should be reviewed including assessment of workload and staffing including at peak times, the management tools available to the contact centre manager, the call quality monitoring. 85 Create a council-wide FAQ database available for all staff to use. (information technology) of improvement plan. 86 The integration of the switchboard and contact centre should be fully explored. 87 Mobile voice and data infrastructure should be integrated with the telephony services. 88 The following reviews should be undertaken: use of DDI numbers in dept literature and forwarding arrangements, use and availability of voicemail, deployment of auto-attendant services in the contact centre, publication and use of internal mobile telephone numbers, policy regarding call transfer and announcing. General Staff Issues 89 Staff morale seems low and this is affecting service delivery - Included in Objective 3 (customer care) and Noted I don't want to be talking to someone who is not focused. Objective 9 (strategic) of improvement plan. 90 Celebrate success, rewarding and valuing staff. 91 Invest in staff training to be customer focused and effective. 92 Train staff on how to use the telephone facilities correctly and promote correct telephone technique. 93 Invest in staff motivation and welfare. Provide greater freedom and resources to managers in order to motivate their staff to deliver quality services. 94 Encourage directors and managers at all levels to lead by example and be inspirational in motivating their staff. 95 Change patterns of behaviour to reinforce the customer focused culture. 96 Develop greater engagement and buy-in from service heads Included in improvement plan in Objective 6 Noted and staff to the customer service culture. (performance management). This also needs to link to existing service planning and performance management processes. 97 Benchmark the results of the staff satisfaction surveys Included in Objective 3 (customer care) and Noted against other authorities/organisations. Objective 9 (strategic) of improvement plan. 98 Publicise changes made as a result of feedback from staff satisfaction surveys. 99 Service Delivery Issues 100 Individual service heads have not had an input into this Included in improvement plan in Objective 6 Noted strategy and are unlikely to take ownership in the delivery of (performance management). This also it. needs to link to existing service planning and performance management processes. Strategy has been widely available for comment prior to and during consultation period. 101 Develop greater engagement and buy-in from service heads Included in Objective 3 (customer care) and Noted and staff to the strategy and improvement plan. Objective 9 (strategic) of improvement plan. 102 Deliver changes and improved outcomes with regular consultation and feedback with real buy in from individual service providers. 103 The strategy is currently generic. There is a need to show Included in improvement plan in Objective 6 Noted the link between this strategy and individual services and (performance management). This also develop a greater service provider ‘by-in’ to the delivery of needs to link to existing service planning the strategy. and performance management processes. 104 Consider when and how to engage service heads in the Strategy has been widely available for development of individual customer service strategy comment prior to and during consultation frameworks that support this generic strategy. period. 105 Undertake an audit of individual services plans and forums that deal with customer service issues. Assess what further action is needed to produce individual customer service frameworks that link to the customer service strategy. 106 The audit of current customer service provision (above), Included in Objective 3 (customer care) and Noted together with a service delivery framework, could be used to Objective 9 (strategic) of improvement plan. develop different options for individual service delivery that ‘fit’ the overarching strategy and implementation plan. At a simple level, it would be possible to identify commonality where there could be savings by ‘joining up’ and identifying key challenges for individual services that could form targets for that service to address in the implementation plan. 107 Realistic expectations matched with resources. Build in transparency and understanding for service providers and users of the realistic resources needed to meet growing expectations. Balance increased expectations by either saying no to some ideas, seeking efficiency savings and being very clear about the cost of the service. 108 Develop cohesion within the authority. Look at how there Include in Objective 9 (Strategic) of Include in improvement plan? can be a greater understanding of the different departments improvement plan. Include in the strategy? that make up the authority – looking at similarities, developing strong and positive relations between people in different services, developing a common vision and sense of belonging for all staff (understanding what ‘leading in Leicestershire’ means), giving similar opportunities and input in to ideas to all members of staff 109 The review of this strategy should be aligned to the review of Included in Objective 9 (Strategic) of Noted the Corporate Strategy, but the implementation plan and improvement plan. monitoring of standards should be reviewed more frequently. 110 Write in plain English without the use of politically correct Included in Objective 4 (community Noted jargon so that it is fully understood by all sections of the engagement) of improvement plan. Borough. 111 I hope someone checks spelling and apostrophe 's' mistakes 112 There is no procedure for internal complaints. These are not Included in Objective 6 (performance Noted recorded and monitored. management) of improvement plan. 113 Measure leadership behaviour and performance from a Included in Objective 9 (Strategic) of Noted customer perspective. improvement plan. FEEDBACK FROM CONSULTATION ON CUSTOMER SERVICE STANDARDS - NOVEMBER 2006 COMMENT SERVICE RESPONSE ACTION Customer Service 1 The timescale of 30 seconds to answer I am consulting with a number of other Councils/ private sector telephone calls appeared to be optimistic. around "when the clock starts ticking" ie I believe our measurement is not in line with others and thereby our performance looks poorer. I am seeing Steve on Friday afternoon( monthly review)- will raise it then 2 The target response times to customers As above are much longer than the minimum recommended in the NESDS. 3 Standards should be set for the switchboard (15 seconds), DDI extensions (15 seconds) and contact centre (30 seconds). 4 A standard salutation for all inbound Include the production of customer care standards in Objective 3 Include in telephone calls should be defined. (Customer Care) of improvement plan. improvement plan. 5 There is currently no differentiation Consider the implementation of auto-acknowledgement of generic Include revised between emails and other forms of written email addresses. Revise standards. standards in correspondence. document. Collection of Council Tax, Business Rates and Rent 6 Further joined up working between This will all hinge on the decision housing make in relation to their None Benefits and Rent Arrears would help to replacement software reduce the over payment of benefits when changes in circumstances occurred. Refuse and Recycling 7 The charge (£11?) for removing bulky wast encourages some people to tip in the countryside. This then costs the council to remove it. Response awaited from N Greenhalgh 8 In respect of the collection of bulky waste, it had not been made clear on the Council web site that white bulky waste was collected separately to other bulky waste. As above 9 Issues in respect of blocked access for wheelie bins still had to be addressed. As above 10 Fly-tipping appeared to be a greater problem at the end of each university term. It was unclear if students or landlords were responsible. As above 11 The target period of 3 days to remove fly- tipping could be misleading, as the Council had limited powers if the rubbish was on privately owned land. As above 12 It should be made clear what the Council was responsible for clearing in respect of ‘grot spots’. It would be helpful to include web links to the ‘grot spots’ and Street Management sites. As above Street Scene 13 Action should be taken in respect of public conveniences, to reduce the target of 28 working days to address major faults. Response awaited from K Biddulph 14 In respect of responsibility for bus shelters, it was unclear which were dealt with by the Borough Council and which by the County Council. As above 15 Feedback should be provided to the Include standard of "contacting the complaintant on a monthly basis Include standard in complainant after reporting anti-social to inform of progress". document behaviour incidents. That would keep them informed of progress, which could often take some while to reach a conclusion. Leisure, Recreation, and Green Spaces 16 Leisure and Environment should address the issue of refunds for courses that did not run, as part of the activities courses. At the present time refunds were not available until the end of the month, which could cause difficulties for some parents. Response awaited from J Robinson 17 Clarification was requested in respect of where responsibility lay for parks and play areas in villages. As above 18 Information to address the misuse of playing fields and sports grounds should be included within the document. As above 19 In respect of allotments, there were large waiting lists for the few allotments available in the Borough. As above 20 Let's have some dedicated 'wild areas' where grass isn't mown so closely in order to encourage a variety of interesting plant species. A variety of plants = a variety of insects including butterflies = a more beautiful environment. As above 21 In respect of grounds maintenance, the Looking at the item you have highlighted, I must comment in that in None pruning of some trees and shrubs should general terms, shrub beds that are our responsibility should be be undertaken more than once a year. pruned once per annum which more than likely will be during the winter period. Trees on the other hand may not receive attention for a number of years and then only after a site visit to assess the requirements. Refer to the Service Level agreement drawn up by Recreational Services if necessary. Our SLA agreement states that shrubs are pruned on the one occasion per annum. Environmental Health 22 Noise or other pollution needs to be dealt The timescales set in the service standards are realistic given the None with quickly to stop the pollution spreading current resources devoted to this service area. We acknowledge that and/or to collect evidence. 'On the same there is demand for a service which provides an immediate response working day' would be best" to noise nuisances as there is strong evidence of this from our own customer surveys. The demand is principally for incidents occurring 23 The timescale of 3 days for noise is too out of normal office hours, mainly at night on the weekends. A bid None long to wait. The same day is preferred as was made in last years SDP to resource an out of hours noise with the ringing of an alarm. intervention service, however the bid was not successful and as this is not identified as a priority in the corporate plan then we do not anticipate any future bids being successful. We have sought other ways of providing an out of hours service such as seeking partnership agreements with neighbouring local authorities and by empowering Police officers, however these organisations have their own sets of priorities and demands and these negotiations have not led to any service improvements. 24 Specific reference is made to Radon because it is a particular Include explanation It should be made clear why any issues question that has tended to be raised by customers due to the nature in document of the local geology and the fact that it often emerges as a query in relating to radon had to be addressed. house sales. Licensing 25 Is it possible to licence and/or charge Your respondent clearly believes what he is intended to : - that the None groups who leave plastic bags for organisation who left the bag(s) is a charitable one. But it ain't, it's a unwanted clothing and other items in order company collecting stuff that they will later sell on. And we don't that they can be limited? I have received regulate them - so unless the government changes things in the 11 since week beginning 20th March soon to arrive Charities Act, we can't levy any charge, under our 2006. It is especially annoying when I put current powers. out their (empty) bags on the day specified and they don't collect them (only full ones)." Development and Building Control Housing Financial Services 26 The timescale of paying undisputed The Council is a complex organisation that is comprised of eight None invoices within 30 days of receipt seems directorates, and around six hundred staff. It is not a one-person too long to wait, could you make it half that business that has a chequebook in their pocket.To process a time ie 15 days. payment ,in accordance with the Corporate Governance standards ,set down for Local Authorities by various external agencies, could not be undertaken in the timescale set requested for a large number of payments without an increase in staffing costs of the Council.The 30 days is a target set by Central Government and adhered to as far as possible. Notwithstanding this target, there are , sometimes, terms of business agreed with suppliers that vary the payment date following supply of goods and these terms are adhered to , but these are very much in a minority.It is also interesting to contrast the thirty days payment target of Local Government with that of commercial undertakings, where sixty or even ninety days are quite often the agreed dates.I hope this fully explains the position of the payments scheduling of Charnwood Borough Council. In respect of Grants, further consideration Re: 'up to 6 months to approve onc e a final application has been None should be given to the time scale for received' The reason the 6 month time scale was used (and cannot assisting with essential maintenance. be changed) is:1)We operate one type of mandatory grant - Disabled There was a need for clarification of Facilities grants (DFG). Within the legislation for this grant is the terminology with a quicker timescale for allowance for local authorities to be able to defer approvals for up to urgent repairs and that such grants would 6 months.2) The other grants operated are purely discretionary. The be means tested. 6 month time scale for these grants was set mainly due to budget constraints. As we have no option but to carry out DFG's, we sometimes have to vire money from one budget to another or spread out approvals on the discretionary grants. This is mentioned in our policy.The time scale given is the worst case scenario - 99% of all grants are approved within a week of a final application being received. Also, there may be some confusion between us and public housing regarding 'essential maintenance/urgent repairs'. We cannot work to the same time frame as them, due to budgets, but mainly because for our service the emphasis is on the applicant doing the bulk of the 'legwork' and unfortunately, we are also at the mercy of the local building industry. Freedom of Information and Data Protection Feedback General 27 The Customer Services standards Agreed that each section will be included on the relevant pages on Include in document was seen as an excellent the intranet and be printed in leaflet form. improvement plan. document that would be of more use to the general public and should be produced in a ‘public friendly language’ and made available widely through libraries, web site, promotion in Charnwood News etc. This could include a very simple reference and link to the strategy. 28 An additional measure suggested for Performance indicators already included in other None inclusion in the standards was some documents/publications. Contact information/opening hours already headline targets for each of the services included in other information leaflets/forms. e.g. recycling target and current position. There was scope to possibly include some additional information relating to opening hours and how to access services. 29 Given the discussion and development of Include in Objective 5 (Diversity and Equality) of improvement plan. Include in ideas to encourage greater awareness improvement plan. raising for those who are hard to reach, the delegates suggested a number of additional standards that could incorporate measures such as targeted awareness raising of hard to reach groups, ‘delivering x number of outreach events aimed specifically at hard to reach groups’, or ‘delivering awareness raising events to staff of other agencies who work with hard to reach groups’. 30 There was some discussion about standards to measure and seek to improve staff attitude to service delivery (and also sub contractor attitude to service delivery) – seeking to deliver service with a smile, helpfully and respectfully. 31 There is scope to identify and prioritise the service standards, as not all the standards are as important to all users e.g. ‘hard to reach’ groups. So to be ‘customer focused’. 32 The documentation does not include any Separate consultation is being undertake on the housing standards None housing standards and these are more including hard to reach groups. likely to be of importance to hard to reach groups than standards on street names. 33 Introduce a reference number system to The CRM software due for implementation in early 2007 will do this. None be given to clients (like that offered by the police), so that enquires can be easily traced. A computer system of this nature is currently being developed.