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Agenda Item No 6

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee: 8th  November 2017

 

Report of the Director of Environment and Housing

 

Customer Service Strategy (Housing) - Six Monthly Monitoring Report

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To update the Committee on progress implementing the Customer Service Strategy (Housing).

Recommendation

  1. That Committee notes the six monthly monitoring report in relation to the Customer Service Strategy (Housing).

Reason for the Recommendation

  1. To ensure the actions identified in the Strategy are progressed.

Background

  1. The Customer Service Strategy was approved by Cabinet in February 2017 and incorporated feedback from this Committee. One of the recommendations was to provide Committee with six monthly monitoring reports. This report updates Members of progress against the actions identified.
  2. There has been a significant progress with implementation and the majority of actions are either complete or are on target to be completed by the target date. There are however a number of actions which are either not due yet or are falling slightly behind. The standard red, amber green classification has been used to highlight the progress against each action. Green represents all actions which are complete or on target, amber is used for actions that are at risk of missing target and red is actions that have already missed target or very likely to miss the target as attached at Appendix A.

Relevant Issues and Options

  • Resident Consultation and Priorities
  1. A number of steps have been taken to make it easier for tenants to get in touch with the housing team and access important information. Two tenants' newsletters have been posted to all tenants and each edition has included a wide range of news regarding community events, advice on benefits and general information. Both editions have also contained a full list of staff in the Neighbourhood team, including the areas they cover, direct telephone numbers and email addresses.
  2. There are a number of ongoing actions designed to improve information provided to customers, these include improving the information on the external web site and introducing self-service so tenants can do things themselves online e.g. report repairs, check rent balances, update a re-housing application etc. Prior to going live, further work is required in respect of Welsh translation in order that customers are able to transact with the Council in Welsh and English.
  3. Work has been undertaken to improve the customer contact experience. This includes developing a 'knowledge base' used by call handlers in the Council's Contact Centre so they are able to use more detailed information to resolve more Housing calls at first point of contact. In addition, agents are able to access the Housing's back office IT systems in order to confirm rent balances, payment details etc. resulting in fewer calls needing to be transferred and less service requests for call backs being raised.
  4. Progress has also been made embedding a 'customer first' culture within the staffing team. Team members themselves have developed a team aim and a suite of 'values' they will demonstrate when dealing with customers. A significant number of team members have also taken part in the 'aspiring leaders' programme which has equipped them with a range of tools and techniques which help make them more effective and better able to assist customers.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation
  1. Implementation of the Strategy is broadly on target, progress has been made in a number of areas and work is already underway to address some of the remaining objectives.
  2. The Strategy is being delivered using existing departmental resources. Financial investments are being made from training or ICT budgets.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. There are no resource implications arising from the report. The changes identified are being delivered from existing budgets and do not give rise to any staffing changes.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. The service improvements identified will result in efficiency savings to the Council, specifically in relation to fewer repeat telephone calls and increased first time resolution. In addition, high standards of customer care will ensure tenants continue to select the Council as their landlord of choice.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. There are no direct legal implications arising from this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. There are no direct crime and disorder implications arising from this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. The Strategy and work undertaken to date is designed to ensure that all tenants have access to services. It is recognised that some vulnerable tenants may require some proactive work to ensure that they receive assistance in times of crisis, so the 'vulnerable tenant' scheme aims to combine information held and identify triggers for targeted visits and contacting people who need assistance, even though they may not approach us for help.
  2. The work being taken to the Customer Portal will also ensure that services are available in Welsh and English.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. This Strategy is consistent with the overarching vision within the new Corporate Plan, namely 'Strong Communities with a Bright Future' as well as several of the Well Being Outcomes, including 'An inclusive and Safe Vale', ' An Environmentally Responsible and Prosperous Vale', 'An Active and Healthy Vale'.
  2. It is also consistent with many of the core objectives (which support the Well Being outcomes), including: reducing poverty and social exclusion; decent homes and safe communities; promoting regeneration; sustainable development and protecting the environment; and active and healthy lifestyles.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. This report will affect all Council tenants and therefore no individual Ward Member consultation has been undertaken.

Background Papers

None

Contact Officer

Nick Jones - Housing and Strategic Projects Team Leader.

Officers Consulted

Tony Curliss, Operational Manager for Customer Relations

Committee Reports

Operational Manager Finance

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter, Director of Environment and Housing.

 

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