Customer service standards
The Vale's Customer Service Charter
Whatever the service, whichever way they contact us, we promise our customers to:
- Deal with enquiries in a friendly, helpful and courteous manner
- Ensure we act without discrimination to meet customer needs
- Provide accurate and timely information and advice
- Treat any information given to us or held by us sensitively and discreetly, respecting any confidentiality
- Meet the targets set out in our service standards
- Treat any comments and complaints about our service seriously and handle them in a positive way
Help Us to Help You
Customers can help the Council to deliver the best possible service by:
- Being aware of any relevant service standards (for example, turnaround times on applications)
- Keeping us informed of any relevant changes in your circumstances
- Responding to letters and any requests for further information or documentation in the timescales requested
- Treating our staff with respect and courtesy
Our staff are committed to providing the best possible service for customers, and we believe that in return our staff have a right to be treated courteously and with respect.
The Council will not tolerate instances of verbal, written or physical harassment or abuse of its staff. The Council will record such incidents and may report them to the police. We retain the right, where we consider customer actions to be unacceptable, to change, restrict or refuse access to our services.
The Council aims to meet the following general corporate standards:
Letters - We will provide a full response within seven working days. Where this is not possible we will still reply within seven working days, letting you know why we need further time to deal with the enquiry. After that we will deal with the matter as quickly as possible.
Emails - We will reply to emails received at service mailboxes with an immediate automated response. We will provide a full response to all emails within seven working days. Where this is not possible we will let you know why we need further time to deal with the enquiry. After that we will deal with the matter as quickly as possible.
Phone - Whenever possible a member of staff will answer the phone within six rings and we will always try to answer your enquiry at that point. Otherwise the call will be diverted to an automated message or answer machine. We will provide a full response within seven working days. Where this is not possible we will let you know why we need further time to deal with the enquiry. After that we will deal with the matter as quickly as possible.
Visitors - Visitors to our Local Service Points in Abingdon who do not have an appointment will be seen in order of arrival. We aim to resolve 99 per cent of enquires during the same working day. If we are unable to do so we will resolve your enquiry as fast as possible and will keep you informed at every stage.
The volume and types of customer contacts in some service areas means that alternative operational standards will apply. You will be informed of this at point of contact.
Comments, Complaints and Suggestions
The Council recognises that communication is a two-way process and operates a procedure that encourages comments, complaints and suggestions to enable service improvement.
Whichever method you use to contact us with a complaint, it will be dealt with in the same way.
A full written reply will be sent within 15 working days or, if your complaint is complicated, you will be sent a reply or progress report within 28 days.
If you are unhappy about our reply to your complaint, you can write to the Chief Executive at the Council using the Freepost address below.
If, after following the Council's procedure you are still not satisfied with the outcome, you can refer it to the Local Government Ombudsman. We can supply you with the contact details on request.
For more information please see our Complaints page.
A leaflet explaining the Vale's Customer Service Charter can be downloaded from the right of the page.
Last reviewed: 24 - 06 - 2011