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Customer tops the planning list in Aberdeen
Aberdeen City Councils efforts to provide the very best in customer service have been recognised with a prestigious national award.
The Building Standards and Development Management team has been awarded the Cabinet Office Customer Service Excellence Standard, which tests an organisation against 57 components with a particular focus on delivery, timeliness, information, professionalism, staff attitudes and customer insight.
The independent assessor who visited the team at Marischal College found they had a "deep understanding of and commitment to, customer service excellence," which was displayed from senior management through to operations and front-line staff.
In order to achieve the award, all Building Standards and Development Management service areas had to provide evidence against set criteria during the assessment. The assessor not only considered the evidence provided, but also spoke with staff in different roles and levels, as well as a range of key customers and stakeholders.
Areas of good practice listed in the assessment report include:
Working hard to develop robust standards and monitoring systems to fit alongside the Customer Service Excellence Standards;
Developing a strong understanding of your customer groups, their needs and preferences;
Customers indicated that they felt staff gave good advice where applicable;
Including staff and customers in developing standards and targets for operations that would link in with the Customer Service Excellence Standard; and
Customers were pleased to be involved in focus groups and felt the service was genuinely listening to their concerns and ideas.
The Customer Service Excellence Standard is not only an independent validation of achievement, but also crucially a skills development tool and a driver for continuous improvement and culture change ensuring that the customer is always at the heart of the decision making process.
Head of Planning and Sustainable Development Dr Margaret Bochel said: "I'm delighted that as part of our drive for continuous improvement we have attained this award. The accreditation process has provided us with the opportunity to ensure that our customers are at the heart of service redesign, working with them in partnership to refine how we deliver our services.
"Achievement of the standard has allowed us to build a productive working relationship with our key customers who have been instrumental in working with us to ensure that we are meeting the needs of the customer."
Accreditation to the standard will now evolve into a three year period of reaccreditations through independent assessors to ensure that standards remain high and improvements to the service are continually being implemented.