Agenda Item No.
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
HOMES AND SAFE COMMUNITIES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE: 7 DECEMBER 2016
REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 14 NOVEMBER 2016
C3366 CUSTOMER SERVICE STRATEGY (HOUSING) – DRAFT FOR CONSIDERATION (HSCH) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - HOMES AND SAFE COMMUNITIES) -
Approval was sought to introduce a Customer Service Strategy for public housing.
There was a strong and well established case for providing high quality customer services. Whilst commercial businesses' survival depended on customer loyalty and repeat business, public sector organisations only continued to expand and improve if they were able to meet the expectations of their customers. Valued, loyal customers were the basis of all strong organisations and the Vale of Glamorgan Council was no exception.
In light of the above, a significant restructure of the Housing team had been carried out over the last 12-18 months. A key aim was to create a customer focussed team able to deliver high quality services to tenants and residents. To facilitate this, a new staff team had been recruited, some of whom did not necessarily have a background in social housing. The rationale being that 'mind-set' and 'attitude' were vital ingredients of an effective team.
The recruitment of the new team had also been supported by the creation of robust induction, training and support mechanisms to ensure staff continued to develop in their roles and deliver first class customer service.
The new staff charter had provided a further opportunity to convey the message and reinforce the importance of positive staff behaviours, through discussions at one to one's and appraisal.
An internal staff working group had met to review current provisions for customer service and consider best practise, not just in other housing teams or councils but in the commercial sector. The themes identified by this group had helped identify the priority areas in the proposed strategy.
The review undertaken by the staff working group identified six priority themes in need of attention. These included: developing a customer first culture; broadening our knowledge about customers in order to deliver tailored services; broadening ways to access our services; improving the quality of services provided and canvassing opinions and using feedback to shape services. There had also been consultation with tenants via the Tenants Working Group which identified key issues and considerations for inclusion in the Strategy.
Six priority themes formed the basis of the Customer Service (Housing) Strategy attached at Appendix A to the report and these gave rise to a range of initiatives and actions to improve the quality of services provided. The case studies within the Strategy gave some examples of the different initiatives, whilst the Operational Delivery Plan at the rear of the document set out more specific details regarding each of the actions designed to achieve the strategic aims.
Progress with implementing the Strategy would be measured via the completion of individual actions contained within the Operational Delivery Plan towards the back of the document. There would also be periodic reports to the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee regarding the range of projects and initiatives taking place.
This was a matter for Executive decision
Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein
(1) T H A T the new Draft Customer Service Strategy (Housing) attached at Appendix A to the report be endorsed for consideration.
(2) T H A T the Draft Customer Service Strategy (Housing) be referred to the Scrutiny Committee Homes and Safe Communities for consideration and input.
(3) T H A T the Draft Customer Service Strategy (Housing) be referred back to Cabinet for final approval upon receiving the views of the Scrutiny Committee Homes and Safe Communities.
(4) T H A T the Scrutiny Committee Homes and Safe Communities receive six monthly monitoring reports in relation to the Operational Delivery Plan for the Customer Service Strategy.
Reasons for decisions
(1) To ensure that Draft Customer Service continued to be an important priority for all work carried out by the Housing team.
(2) To provide an opportunity for Scrutiny Committee Homes and Safe Communities to make any comments.
(3) To agree the final Strategy document.
(4) To ensure the actions identified are progressed.
Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet – 14 NOVEMBER 2016