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Agenda item

Customer Care Strategy

To consider the progress made against the actions within the Customer Care Strategy during 2021/22 and to endorse the action plan for 2022/23. 

Minutes:

104.1        The report of the Corporate Services Manager, circulated at Page No. 44-60, asked Members to consider the progress made against the actions within the Customer Care Strategy during 2021/22 and to endorse the action plan for 2022/23.

104.2        The Corporate Services Manager advised that customer care was a priority within the Council Plan and that commitment was conveyed through the Customer Care Strategy attached at Appendix 1 to the report.  The annual Customer Care Strategy Action Plan focused on the strategy’s six themes and how they would be delivered and good progress had been made over the last year with 10 of the 13 actions being completed.  Particular highlights included customer care training for all front-facing staff; engaging with the Citizens’ Panel to help shape emerging services; and the roll out of a new set of Customer Care Standards.  Two actions had not been achieved, as set out at Page No. 46, Paragraph 2.3 of the report, and they had been included in the action plan for the forthcoming year, attached at Appendix 2 to the report.

104.3        A Member queried whether there was a customer care standard for residents to receive a response to an issue logged via the Report It function and if the response rate was monitored; Gloucestershire County Council advised residents by email that they would receive a response within 10 working days.  The Corporate Services Manager advised that the general expectation within the Customer Care Standards was that a response should be received within five working days and she did not believe there was a more specific requirement in terms of the Report It system.  Anyone submitting an enquiry through Report It should receive an automated acknowledgement email and she undertook to look into whether that could be made clearer in terms of timescales for the response.

104.4        A Member drew attention to Page No. 55 of the report and the action to review the Advice and Information Centres (AICs).  She noted that, for 2022/23, it was intended to work with Parish Councils and other partners to provide access to Borough Council services depending on the success of the Brockworth arrangement and she asked if that had actually happened, what the outcome had been in terms of its success and how that was intended to be rolled out to other Parish Councils.  In response, the Corporate Services Manager confirmed that Brockworth Parish Council had taken over the service provision on behalf of Tewkesbury Borough Council and this had been working well as it meant that anyone visiting could access the service at any time, as opposed to just two days per week as had been the case previously.  It was hoped to replicate this in other areas and discussions were underway with Winchcombe Town Council.  The Member welcomed this as a starting point but questioned how this would integrate with the smaller, rural parishes.  The Corporate Services Manager explained that it would be impossible to offer a service in every parish across the borough; however, if there was an area of concern she would be happy to discuss this outside of the meeting.  The purpose of this action was to make the Council’s services more accessible so she welcomed any suggestions and views as to how that might be achieved.  A local Ward Member for Brockworth confirmed that the new arrangement was working well and staff training had been excellent; however, there was some concern about future funding and he asked what the intention was in terms of training and development for staff going forward.  In response, the Corporate Services Manager clarified that Brockworth Parish Council had approached Tewkesbury Borough Council with the proposal to take over service provision on the basis that it was a waste of resource to use Council staff when its own staff were already on duty – the Parish Council had responded to all enquiries on behalf of the Borough Council during the pandemic and no concerns had been raised.  The intention was for customers to serve themselves where possible and the Borough Council had supplied the IT equipment etc. for that to happen and would continue to provide training to staff.

104.5        It was

RESOLVED          That the progress made against the actions within the Customer Care Strategy during 2021/22 be NOTED and the action plan for 2022/23 be ENDORSED.

Supporting documents: