Agenda Item No 8
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee: 14 March, 2018
Report of the Director of Environment and Housing Services
Customer Service Strategy (Housing) - Six Monthly Monitoring Report
Purpose of the Report
- To update the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee on progress implementing the Customer Service Strategy (Housing).
The Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee note the six monthly monitoring report in relation to the Customer Service Strategy (Housing).
Reason for the Recommendation
To ensure that high standards of customer service are provided consistently to Council tenants and customers who contact the housing team and the actions identified in the Strategy are progressed.
- The Customer Service Strategy was approved by Cabinet in February 2017 and incorporated feedback from the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee. One of the recommendations was to provide six monthly monitoring reports to the Homes and Safe Communities Committee. This following report updates members of progress against the actions identified in the Operational Delivery Plan attached as Appendix A.
Relevant Issues and Options
- Resident consultation and priorities
- The original Strategy was informed by the results of the large scale tenant satisfaction survey, performance data from the Council's contact centre (C1V), a review of best practise and input from the tenants working group. The priorities identified are designed to drive improvements in several key areas of customer service.
- Five key priorities are identified in the Strategy, namely: embedding a customer first culture within the housing team; expanding the range of personalised services available to tenants; developing the ways customers can access housing services; improving the quality of customer services provided to tenants and increasing the range of customer feedback and using this to drive service improvements.
- Monitoring and evaluation
- There has been 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 small 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.
- The following are some examples of some pieces of work completed as part of the Strategy:
- 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.
- There are a number of on-going 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. Further work is being carried out in order that customers are able to transact with the Council in Welsh and English. Testing of the self-service facility will be carried out in March with a view to rolling out for all tenants in Summer 2018.
- 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.
- 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.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
- The Strategy is being delivered using existing departmental resources. Financial investments are being made from training or ICT budgets.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
- 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)
- There are no direct legal implications arising from this report.
Crime and Disorder Implications
- There are no direct crime and disorder implications arising from this report.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
- 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.
- The work being taken to the Customer Portal will also ensure that services are available in Welsh and English.
- 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'.
- 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.
Policy Framework and Budget
- This report is a matter for information and noting.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
- This report will affect all council tenants and therefore no individual ward member consultation has been undertaken.
Nick Jones - Housing & Strategic Projects Team Leader.
Operational Manager Finance
Miles Punter - Director of Environment and Housing Services