Excellent customer service is guaranteed

Published: Tuesday, 25th May 2021

Oxford City Council has passed its latest Customer Service Excellence assessment with flying colours.

Customer Service Excellence (CSE) is a national quality mark that recognises organisations for their customer-focused commitment in all they do, ensuring they are efficient, effective, excellent, equitable and empowering. It also means that those organisations that attain the standard always put the customer at the heart of their service provision. To achieve the accreditation Oxford City Council was assessed on everything it does with every department’s mark contributing to the final result.

The City Council has held the award for seven years. Accreditation to the CSE standard is through a rigorous assessment process. This year the City Council has not only maintained its accreditation, but its Compliance Plus score, which indicate going above and beyond the criteria, has increased.

Other areas where the Council scored exceptionally highly included:

  • showing how local insight was used to develop and provide new and effective services. Examples include identifying clinically extremely vulnerable residents and what they might need, talking to local communities to identify and fill gaps in provision where possible, work to support food sustainability and work with traders in the Covered Market and other locations
  • valuing the contribution of staff, managers and leaders to deliver customer-focused services. There was a clear understanding of the potential impact of the pandemic on staff. All staff were phoned to make sure that they had what they needed to work effectively and there was recognition that there are different journeys for each staff member depending on personal circumstances
  • making the City Council services easily accessible to customers through a range of alternative channels. Implementing community hubs and amending roles and responsibilities made services more accessible. Staff have been recruited, volunteered and seconded to areas, often outside their comfort zone, to provide rounded and holistic services.

“This is a remarkable achievement and I want to thank the staff at Oxford City Council who have made strenuous efforts through this difficult year. They have ensured that not only has the Council maintained its pre-pandemic levels of service, but by responding quickly to the new situation, has actually improved them.

“It was also good to see the assessor understood that the City Council is focused on not just customer service, but rather on the whole customer experience.

“The report concluded that much work has been done to identify the most vulnerable and to make sure that they are provided with the services they need. This approach has also resulted in fewer complaints than in previous years. This Customer Service Excellence award provides fitting recognition.”

Cllr Mike Rowley, Cabinet Member for Citizen Focused Services 

“At the end of the last review, the Council had achieved 13 Compliance Plus scores. Compliance Plus is awarded when there is evidence of going above and beyond the criteria and where it is found to be embedded across the organisation – this has increased this time to 16.

“It’s an amazing result, given the year that we have all endured. To continue to show compliance with the standard would have been good – showing that the Council still warrants 13 Compliance Plus scores would have been great – but showing that it also warrants an extra three is fantastic and is a real testament to the quality of staff that are in place.”

External Customer Service Excellence Assessor, Andrew Mackie

Customer Service Excellence accreditation is awarded over a three year period with assessment reviews taking place every 12 months. At the end of the three year period the Council must apply for re-accreditation. Oxford City Council’s next full review will be in June 2022.