Greenwich Council

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 6 - Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich SE18 6PW. View directions

Contact: Daniel Wilkinson  Email: daniel.wilkinson@royalgreenwich.gov.uk or tel: 020 8921 5102

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence from Members of the Panel.

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

2.

Urgent Business

The Chair to announce any items of urgent business circulated separately from the main agenda.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

3.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 34 KB

Members to declare any personal and financial interests in items on the agenda.  Attention is drawn to the Council’s Constitution; the Council’s Code of Conduct and associated advice.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved –

 

That the list of Councillors’ memberships as Council appointed representatives on outside bodies, joint committees and school governing bodies be noted.

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Members are requested to confirm as an accurate record the Minutes of the meeting held on 27 April 2017.

 

No motion or discussion may take place upon the Minutes except as to their accuracy, and any question on this point will be determined by a majority of the Members of the body attending who were present when the matter in question was decided.  Once confirmed, with or without amendment, the person presiding will sign the Minutes.

Minutes:

Resolved -

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Corporate Finance and Performance Scrutiny Panel held on 27 April 2017 be agreed and signed as a true and accurate record.

5.

Cabinet Member for Customer Services Priorities 2017-18 pdf icon PDF 89 KB

To note the Cabinet Member for Customer Services’ portfolio priorities.

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Customer Services and Anti-Fraud presented the report.

 

In response to questions from the Panel about IT the Deputy Director of Corporate Resources clarified that Office 365 had been rolled out to Councillors, Chief and Senior Officers and relevant support staff; the survey of their satisfaction with the service was taken as feedback during implementation. The Deputy Director of Corporate Resources detailed what measures had been undertaken to make the Council’s IT system resilient to cyber attack.

 

In response to questions from the Panel about customer contact the Deputy Director of Corporate Resources said they were trying to reduce the number of calls received by a greater use of online facilities, but the number of calls remained fairly stable at present. Telephone was the biggest access channel for customers but they needed to make customers understand what was available on the website. He clarified that there was a lot of double handling where for example a customer might email and because the information was not complete then they would be contacted and then they might telephone back. He explained that the aim was to reduce the number of emails by greater use of eforms.

 

The Cabinet Member for Customer Services and Anti-Fraud stated that they were seeking to get the relevant parts of the Directorates of Community Services, in particular housing, and Regeneration Enterprise and Skills to make use of the Call Centre.

 

Members felt that the current Council website did not compare well to those of other local authorities. The Cabinet Member for Customer Services and Anti-Fraud recognised that the website needed to be brought up to date and that it should be made easier to access.

 

Members suggested that residents’ needs should be considered as part of any changes made to the website. Members suggested that the website needed to be more visual and have better search facilities.

Action: Central Services

 

Members commented on the provision of webcasting of Council meetings. The Cabinet Member for Customer Services and Anti-Fraud said the intention was to expand the use of webcasting of meetings but cost implications had to be taken into account and she noted the small numbers of public who currently watched the broadcasts of meetings of Council.

 

Information on whether it was possible to snip the webcast of the meetings of Council, for use in social media or other information sharing, to be circulated.

Action: Central Services

 

Resolved –

 

That the report be noted.

6.

Customer Services - Annual Performance Report pdf icon PDF 159 KB

To note the performance of Customer Services over the year April 2016 to March 2017

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report was presented by the Head of Customer Services.

 

The Chair of the Panel sought clarification on why there appeared to be a 5% drop of customers using the Contact Centres. The Head of Customer Services explained that the drop was due to a change in how customers were processed; previously, in some cases customers might have gone to two service desks or had to re-queue to see a different advisor, but the Contact Centres had now reconfigured the triage to reduce duplication. The Chair sought confirmation that it was not due to customers leaving because they were not getting served; the Head of Customer Services confirmed that was not the case, it was because there was better management of the process.

 

In response to questions from the Panel about staffing the Head of Customer Services explained that previously they had a fixed number of staff at each Contact Centre, but they had since centralised resources to better respond to where demand was.

 

In response to questions from the Panel about telephone response the Head of Customer Services explained that there were various factors that affected telephone call response times, for example there was a massive spike in calls just after Council Tax reminders were sent out. Customer Services sought to address that by staff not taking leave during known spike periods. One thing they were pursing was to work with service areas to see how to better deal with simple calls, for example when a caller simply wanted to know their Council Tax balance.

 

The Cabinet Member for Customer Services and Anti-Fraud commented that the Contact Centre staff were aware that they were not yet meeting their performance target with respect to call answering.

 

While the Panel expected telephone response performance targets to be met by next year it was accepted that the processing of some service calls was not always straightforward, for example those to do with housing repairs, which were not a matter of a single call.

 

In response to questions from the Panel about online services the Head of Customer Services explained that the generic email to the Contact Centres was an unstructured process in that it then had to be passed on to the relevant section. The Contact Centre only dealt with one eform, the rest were handled by the relevant sections. The intention was to have more eforms. It was noted that customers often came into the Contact Centres because there was no other way of completing what was required, for example verification of original documents for Council tax or parking permits.

 

The Cabinet Member for Customer Services and Anti-Fraud recognised that that some services were not as IT focused as they should be in providing their service.

 

Members suggested there could be greater digitalisation of services, for example traffic wards should be able to electronically access who had a parking permit. It was noted that some online forms were not interactive and required the customer to print them, and then scan and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

2017/18 Work Programme Schedule pdf icon PDF 24 KB

To note and agree the schedule for the Corporate Finance and Performances Scrutiny Panel work programme for 2017/18

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members requested that the Human Resources Annual Report scheduled for the July 2017 meeting should also include a progress report on the Staff Survey 2016, focusing on actions being taken to balance out some of the variation in results.

Action: Finance (Human Resources)

 

Resolved –

 

That the schedule for the Corporate Finance and Performances Scrutiny Panel work programme for 2017/18 as set out in Appendix 1 of the report be agreed