Customer care standards

We are committed to doing the following.

Providing customer focused services

The customer is our prime consideration when planning and introducing new systems and services and we consult wherever possible to better understand their needs. We strive to improve the quality of the services that we provide, and  aim to meet our customers' needs and expectations. Good customer service is an integral part of these services.

Maintaining good customer relations

All of our employees must be aware of the Customer Care Code, and must undergo training to help them to meet its requirements. Employees and Members of the Council are encouraged to establish and maintain positive, helpful and friendly relationships with all of our customers. We will not discriminate against any groups or individuals and will abide by the guidance set out in the Council's own Race Equality and Diversity schemes to provide equal services to all our customers.

Treating comments and complaints as opportunities for improvement

We welcome comments and complaints about our services. We aim to deal with complaints helpfully, fairly and quickly, and to remedy all problems to the customer's satisfaction wherever possible. We record complaints so that we can evaluate the quality of the services we provide to continually make improvements.

Creating a welcoming environment

In all our offices and places of work we take care to plan the environment for ease of use by the customer and we try and make the customer's visit a pleasant and welcoming one.

Customer Code

Face to face

Hundreds of people visit the Councils premises every day:

  • with a variety of queries and problems;
  • to attend an activity, event or meeting; or
  • as part of the general service delivery.
  • We aim to send every one of them away feeling that they have received a good service

For someone visiting any of the Council's buildings for the first time it can be a very confusing experience. Staff working in the reception area are trained to put customers at their ease, and the design of the reception areas are deliberately planned to make the customer feel welcome

  • For visitors who arrive without an appointment, we will try and see them if this is possible. If not, we will let them know how long it will be and ask them if they are prepared to wait, or make a mutually suitable appointment when they can call back.
  • We aim to speak to visitors face to face (in a suitable location), not use the telephone to talk to a customer.

On the phone

  • We aim to answer all calls within four rings and to try
  • to resolve the call at first point of contact.

In writing (letter and e mails)

  • All letters and emails will be replied to as soon as possible but within a maximum of 14 days of their receipt.
  • If a reply cannot be sent within this timescale, an e-mail, letter or card of acknowledgement will be sent specifying a target date for the response.
  • We try to use plain language and avoid jargon or abbreviations (without proper explanation).
  • We will put a reference on your letters/e mails so that they are easy to trace if necessary.
  • All contact group emails will be acknowledged within 24 hours of receipt.

Home visits by staff and contractors

In the case of housing service users where we have concerns about safety and welfare of tenants and staff we may implement restrictions to protect all concerned.

In such cases the matter will be referred to the Resident Services Manager who will decide whether to implement restrictions. The Resident Services Manager will write to the service user to explain the reason for the decision and offer the right of appeal.

The Resident Services Manager will record the details in the housing management database and review the decision after 11 months.

The Resident Services Manager will write to the service user advise if they have been removed from the database or if they will remain on the register for a further 12 months, when a further review shall be carried out.