Service Standards

Closed 28 May 2023

Opened 17 Apr 2023

Feedback updated 6 Oct 2023

We asked

In the Council’s Customer Access Strategy, we committed to creating Service Standards with residents. We co-developed these with a group of residents who responded to an expression of interest form, indicating that they would like to work with the Council to do this.

We asked for your feedback on these draft Service Standards and whether you thought they were clear and easy to understand, and suggestions for improvement, and how the Council could be held to account and measure its progress.

We had 59 responses to the formal consultation survey and engaged with 76 residents in face to face consultation events.

You said

You have inconsistent experiences when contacting the council - Some residents reflect that staff are helpful and friendly but are unable to resolve issues quickly and properly. Other resident feedback indicates that staff do not always treat residents with respect, kindness, or empathy.

You find that council communications are inaccessible and not inclusive – Residents say information needs to be available in other languages, and that the Council needs to do more to communicate and provide information for those that struggle to access Council Services for example if they have a learning difficulty, disability or need support with digital access.

There is a lack of Information about different council services and how to contact them - Residents feel we do not proactively share information about different Council Services or how to contact them; especially if they are not accessing information online.

You do not feel that the Council includes or consults you early enough in the process on the things that affect your lives – Residents who responded to our survey were asked if they felt included in decisions that are made about them/their families. A round a third of respondents (20 out of 47) said that they ‘never’ or ‘rarely’ felt included in decisions about them/their families.

We did

  • Inconsistent Experiences – We have designed a framework to understand how each Service is currently working and actions it will take to improve. We will trial the agreed approach in three services to identify good practices, as well as actions to support improvement which will be recorded in an action plan.
  • Accessibility and Inclusion - We are exploring options for the council website to be translated into the most commonly spoken languages, as well as how we can gather and record more information on accessibility issues that make it harder for residents to access services, such as learning difficulties, disabilities, or lack of support with digital access. Work is also ongoing to use technology (CRM) that will support us to properly record resident needs and allow us to flag residents needs easily so that the organisation can work more proactively to support them.
  • Lack of Information about Council Services A review of our website has produced conclusions and recommendations. We are currently working to review, assess and implement the agreed changes. 
  • Lack of Visible Council Officers in the Community – We are carrying out a face-to-face access pilot in community spaces to understand demand and impact. This will help us to understand what services and information residents would like to see and have access to; and where and when these need to be delivered to best support residents.
  • A Need to Be Consulted Early in the Process about Council Decisions – From the very beginning, resident consultation has been a key part of the process to develop the service standards. We sought resident views on both the content and wording of the standards, to make sure that they were written in a way that was clear and easy to understand, that they would help you to hold the Council to account, and to understand how you felt our progress against the standards should be measured. The feedback you gave resulted in the development of two new standards, as well as changes to the wording of others. For example:
    • We added the standard ‘As a resident I want to feel that I am being treated as an individual’.
    • We added the word proactively to the standard ‘Which means staff and services need to proactively update residents every step of the way’ as the residents consulted made it clear that they expected us to take a more active role in contacting residents, rather than waiting for residents to contact us.

We developed some best practice guidance for staff about feeding back to residents to show how their viewpoints have been included in any decisions that have been made and communicated this to colleagues across the Council. 

You can view the Service Standards and the Implementation Plan on the Council website.

You can view the Council Plan on the Council website.

Results updated 5 Oct 2023



We know contact with the Council is unavoidable, but it should be easy, helpful, and friendly for residents. Our Customer Access Strategy outlines our commitment to you to achieve the best possible customer service. We aim to resolve your query with us at the first point of contact to avoid frustration and delays and to signpost you to the services you need.

We will make sure by improving our systems and approach that anyone contacting the Council feels that they have had a positive experience. This means that they will feel reassured that their circumstances have been understood and taken into account, confident that action will be taken, and content that they have been treated with good customer care. In the Strategy we committed to work with customers to develop service standards that reflect this and against which we can be held to account.

After responding to expressions of interest, we created a user group combined of residents and staff to explore what matters to them, what good service looks like and adopted a co-design approach to developing service standards together, which we have shared below.

Proposed Service Standards

As a resident, I want to feel:

  • seen, heard and listened to 
  • that you care
  • confident that you have understood and made a record/noted what I contacted you about
  • that my enquiry or concern will be resolved, or I will get a clear explanation as to why it cannot be
  • that I know how to escalate if needed and can do this easily
  • that I’m included in making decisions about me
  • that my Council is there to help me, or will assist me in finding help

To achieve this, the Council needs to

  • ensure all staff are aware of and working to a set of behaviours and values
  • focus more on resolving residents' issues rather than ticking boxes
  • implement systems that manage resident interactions with the Council and share a view of residents
  • demonstrate that decisions are made with residents and explain how
  • ensure it is reaching all residents especially those who may not know how to contact the Council when they need or for the first time
  • earn residents' confidence and trust by improving services and working better together
  • use data and resident feedback to regularly review and improve, as part of our efforts in becoming the best Council
  • share results and feedback with staff and residents
  • ensure processes and systems are resident-focused, regularly reviewed and fixed when broken

and services and staff need to:

  • value and encourage resident participation
  • have empathy and show they care
  • be human, honest, transparent and accountable
  • update residents with progress every step of the way
  • be enabled to challenge processes or policies for the benefit of residents 
  • avoid automated responses and "one size fits all" approaches
  • ensure residents do not have to make repeat contact to achieve a resolution
  • ensure residents feel listened to, heard and confident that action will be taken 
  • take responsibility and don't pass the buck
  • be clear on who is taking responsibility and what the next steps are

Why your views matter



The Council is keen to hear your feedback on the proposed Service Standards. Feedback from this consultation will be analysed and used to inform the development of final Service Standards. 

If you need help to complete this survey, or require it in an alternative format (e.g. paper copy or in an alternative language) please contact the Customer Access Team by email at


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