This item was placed on the Board’s work programme following a verbal proposal from Councillor S. Colella at the meeting on 11th February 2019 (minute extract attached).
The Executive Director Finance and Corporate Resources provided a brief presentation on the Customer Services Response Protocol.
During the commencement of the presentation it became apparent that there had been some miscommunication. At the invitation of the Chairman, Councillor Colella confirmed that this item had been placed on the Board’s Work Programme following his request at the Overview and Scrutiny Board meeting held on 11th February 2019.
Councillor Colella provided clarification as follows; in that he had wanted information with regard to customers who contacted the Council regarding service requests and the responses they had received and the time it had taken to respond to those customers. He was aware of customers who had contacted the Council, but had not received a response or follow up to their service request.
In response to the Chairman, Members agreed to continue with the presentation.
The Executive Director Finance and Corporate Resources continued and informed Members that all complaints were logged on an electronic system and that the system was available to every member of staff. A Customer Service Advisor would check for any unassigned complaints on a daily basis and assign them. Managers for each service area were responsible for managing their own complaints. Customer Services were not in control of the system. There was no overall responsibility from Customer Services to respond to complaints or measure the performance of the service areas. There was no overarching view of complaint response times, hence slight inconsistencies. However, the Customer Services Team was working on achieving a more consistent approach and she was happy to bring that information to the next meeting of the Board.
The Chairman thanked the Executive Director Finance and Corporate Resources.
A further discussion continued, whereby Councillor Colella further explained that he was aware that customers who contacted Worcestershire County Council, by phone or via their on-line service were provided with a reference / log number, which could be quoted during any further contact regarding their service request. He had wanted information with regard to the Council’s customer response system and not customer complaints. Members were in agreement that a customer log or reference number would be extremely useful for customers. They would be able to quote this number should they need to contact the Council for an update / response to their service request. It was felt that this would also create more transparency for both customers and officers.
Councillor Douglas also commented that it would be useful to have an ‘App’ made available to Councillors to log, track or follow up any resident’s queries or complaints received by Councillors. Councillor Denaro suggested that this could be raised at a future meeting of the Member Development Steering Group.
The Chairman asked Members if they felt it might be informative to invite partner agencies to a future meeting of the Board, with regard to how they log / respond to any issues / queries / service requests from their customers. Members were in agreement that this might prove useful and agreed that an invitation be extended to Bromsgrove District Housing Trust (BDHT) to attend a future meeting of the Board.
a) that Bromsgrove District Housing Trust (BHDT be invited to attend a future meeting of the board;
b) that the Executive Director Finance and Corporate Resources to provide an update with regard to the Customer Services Team, as detailed in the pre-amble above; and
c) that the presentation be noted.