Wyre Council

National award for Wyre benefits services

Published on Monday 4th October 2010

Wyre Borough Council's commitment to the customer has been underlined with a national award.

The council's Benefits team came away winners from the Institute of Revenues, Rating & Valuations annual awards last night (Thursday), taking joint first place in the Excellence In Customer Service category.

This national recognition is a major boost for the team with a caseload of around 11,000 claimants. A great deal of time and effort has been invested into Wyre's benefits procedure in the past few years, to the extent that a survey earlier this year showed 91 per cent of claimants were satisfied with the service they received.

Measures put in place to improve the customer experience include the option of visiting the Civic Centre or the mobile advice centre without an appointment, home visits if requested, knowledgeable staff who can process a benefit claim in front of the customer while they wait and customised pocket calendars highlighting when benefit payments are made..

Benefits officers have also been retrained to process applications for other services such as concessionary bus passes, car parking permits, trade waste sacks all in one visit to save the customer time.

Stronger links with partners are improving services even further. In particular the council works closely with its largest housing association, Regenda, to assist with rent arrears etc.

Pete Mason, head of the benefits for Wyre Borough Council, said: "These improvements haven't happened overnight. It is the result of years of hard work where we have completely reviewed all of our processes to make them more customer friendly.

"The whole team is really proud of the improvements we have made but to have this recognised nationally in competition with a lot of larger councils is very satisfying."

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