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					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.

				
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