Sutton’s award-winning Liberal Democrat council has scored high praise for the customer service it provides for its residents, including its campaign to involve them in planning future services.
The council has been awarded the Customer Service Excellence standard, which is monitored by the Cabinet Office, following a visit by inspectors in February.
Their report found that staff-customer interactions in the reception area and calls monitored in contact centres “demonstrated the team’s overall professionalism”, “sound knowledge” and “interactive skills”. It said: “The commitment was displayed from Senior Management levels through to operations front-line staff.”
It also singled out the council’s Sutton’s Future site (www.suttonsfuture.org) as “an impressive example of how the borough is harnessing the website to improve consultation practice in line with new technology.”
Sutton’s Future was launched in July 2014 to encourage residents to “join the conversation” about the council’s challenge to find £40m worth of savings from its annual budget in the next five years.
The report singled out the consultations on the future of green garden waste and Sutton’s theatres for praise. So far, almost 5,000 Sutton’s Future surveys have been completed across seven different services and there have been more than 29,000 page views on the website.
More than 600 people have attended Sutton’s Future events and 2,500 people have taken part in telephone surveys.
Ruth Dombey, Lib Dem Leader of the council, said: “In Sutton, our ethos is to put residents first and to do that we need to provide excellent customer service. I am delighted that for the 17th year running we have been awarded the Customer Service Excellence status.
“What is really pleasing is the recognition of the Sutton’s Future work we are doing to encourage residents to take part in helping to make savings to the council’s budget by changing services. Anyone can give their view or take part in a service-based consultation by visiting www.suttonsfuture.org.”
The report also praised Sutton’s customer service team for employing apprentices which it says ‘demonstrates the council’s commitment to the community.’ There are currently three apprentices in the customer services team.