The Customer Service and Excellence certificate was awarded to Kingston Council today despite reports of persistent issues.
The certificate is a nationally-recognised performance standard that assesses criteria such as response times, communication and reacting to views and complaints.
Kingston council director of communications Stephen Evans said: “For many people, our customer services – whether that’s the face to face, our telephone contact centre, or our website – represents the ‘front door’ of the council.
“These services needed to improve and it’s good to see progress being made.
“There is more work to do, and the Customer Service Excellence certification is a great reflection that things are moving in the right direction.
“This would not have been possible without the involvement of residents and other members of the community to help us improve.”
Twitter users were quick to announce their concerns with the borough council:
Really????? You still do not reply to emails and fail to deal with reported issues. From where I am sitting there has been no improvement sadly.
— Nick Bonnichon (@n1ckb84) May 2, 2019
Ditto that, still waiting for my bins to be emptied, nearly two weeks after reporting a missed collection
— nedpoins (@nedpoins) May 2, 2019
The council hoped to improve communication responsiveness across channels, such as face to face, phone, website and social media and achieve greater consistency of service.
Community campaigner James Giles said: “The notion that Kingston Council’s customer service is ‘award winning’ is laughable, and speaks volumes about the sorry state that local government across the country is in.
“Whilst the council is no doubt improving, albeit very slowly, residents across our borough, from New Malden through Chessington, are still faced with wait times on the phones in excess of 30 minutes, late FOI responses and real issues with online reporting, particularly housing repairs.”
The council said waiting times had been reduced in areas such as Freedom of Information requests, phone calls, which were reduced from half an hour to under three minutes, and complaint responses, which increased to 83 percent responded to on time from 50 percent last year.
For details on events around the borough about the council’s website redesign work visit kingston.gov.uk/digital_platform