Our customer care pledge

"Every customer, every time: everybody matters."

Our customers are very important to us and we aim to provide high quality services, exceed customer expectations and delight our customers. We will treat you as individuals, listen carefully to you, be sensitive to your needs, and take ownership of problems so that you can be confident that someone is dealing with your issue.

What customers can expect from us

We will:

  1. Be friendly, polite, helpful, attentive and considerate at all times
  2. Provide accurate and clear information
  3. Use plain English and avoid jargon or technical terms
  4. Be open and honest about what we can and cannot deliver
  5. Get back to you when we say we will, and advise you of our progress when we are taking longer than anticipated to address an issue.

We always aim to get it right first time, every time, so that you don’t have to keep contacting us about the same issue. 

We also aim to ensure we understand the real problem and not only help to fix it but also to ensure that we get to the root cause of the issue to avoid it keep happening again, either to you or to someone else.

We always promise to make it easy for you to contact us and to respond to ‘phone calls, emails, letters and other requests for service as quickly as possible. Our priority is always to deliver a quality service and this can take time. We will do everything we can to keep in contact with you, if it is necessary to do so, and keep you informed of progress.

If we have no choice but to pass your enquiry on to someone else we will tell you who will be dealing with it, and we will support you to get the help you need.

If your enquiry cannot be dealt with at the time you contact us we will make sure you know what is happening and when you can expect to receive further contact from us.

We will always make our services, offices and information as accessible as possible to all our customers.

In writing

If you write to us by letter or email and a response is required to answer your enquiry, to advise you what we are doing or to otherwise contact you regarding the issue, we will respond to you as soon as possible after it has been received by us.

If the issue will take some time to investigate or resolve we will tell you when you can expect to hear more from us. 

In the case of emails, if the officer you have contacted is out of the office you will be advised when that officer will be available and who to contact in the meantime if your enquiry is urgent.

In many cases we prefer to speak to you so please help us to help you by providing a telephone contact number.

In person

If you visit us in person, someone will see you as soon possible to establish who the best person is to help you. If you need to see one of our specialist officers we will advise you of approximate wait times but as every enquiry is different and we aim to give every customer a quality service it is possible that you may have to wait longer than anticipated. If you are unable to wait we will advise you of alternative options.  

If the person you see can’t help you they will try to find someone who can and provide you with facilities to speak to them if possible.

If you need assistance with English a telephone interpreter can be provided at this time. 

If it is appropriate for you to have an appointment with a specialist officer we will make the necessary arrangements for you to see them at the time that is most convenient to you (within normal office hours). If you need assistance with English an interpreter, or a British Sign Language interpreter (subject to availability) will be arranged for the appointment.

If you have an appointment with a member of staff they will always aim to see you on time, and ensure you are made aware if they are running more than 15 minutes late. 

On the phone

If you phone us your call will be answered as quickly as possible. The vast majority of our phone calls are answered within 10 seconds but we do know that at times of high demand it can take longer and your patience is appreciated. If your call is not urgent and you are unable to hold you may wish to call back. Our busiest times for phone calls are between 9am and 11am each day.
Once again if you need assistance with English a telephone interpreter can be provided. 

If voicemail is activated you will be told when the member of staff is going to be available and given an alternative number to call in the event the enquiry is urgent. Staff will respond to voicemail messages within 1 working day of the date of the call, or within 1 working day of the date the message tells you they will return to the office.

Online

We will ensure all the information on our website is accurate, up to date and makes sense to customers.     

If you need to complain

If you make a complaint we will:

  1. Contact you as soon as possible after we receive your complaint to discuss the matter further and agree with you the way forward
  2. We prefer to do this by talking to you so please provide us with a telephone number when you make your complaint to ensure the quickest response

Home visits

If we have an appointment to visit you at home we will:

  1. Ensure you understand the reason for the visit
  2. Let you know if we cannot keep the appointment, or if we are going to be delayed
  3. Ensure you and your home is treated with respect
  4. Let you know what we will do next if follow up action is necessary.

Some services have to work to specific standards because of laws that set out how they must operate and details these are available online or from the relevant service.

Equality

We value the diversity of our communities and want to ensure that everyone has fair access to our services. We are therefore committed to equality and diversity in the way we respond to your needs and in the way we provide our services.

We will not discriminate unfairly or unlawfully on any grounds and in particular the grounds of race, gender (including gender identity), disability, age, religion or belief, or sexual orientation.

Different services may be offered, or services may be provided in a different way where it would be appropriate to do so (e.g. different services may be offered based on age or a service may be provided differently to include reasonable adjustments for disability).