Wyre Council

Wyre tops benefits satisfaction league

Published on Thursday 18th March 2010

Wyre Borough Council has topped a survey looking at customer satisfaction among North West benefit claimants.

Twenty local authorities from Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire took part in the assessment which asked people who were claiming Council Tax or Housing Benefit to judge the service they received.

Ratings were sought in seven areas including ways to contact the council, experience of dealing with staff both via telephone and face to face, as well as waiting times.

Wyre scored an overall satisfaction rate of 90.5 per cent, the highest of all those taking part. The council also fared the best in relation to:

- visiting the council offices (90.8 per cent satisfaction and the best in the North West

- the time taken to decide whether or not a claim was successful (86.6% per cent and the best in the North West)

- service by council office staff (91.3 per cent and the highest in Lancashire)

Considerable improvements had been made against all seven indicators when compared with a similar survey in 2006.

Peter Mason, Head of Contact Centre at Wyre Borough Council, said: "The results of this survey are testament to the hard work and dedication of our benefits team in providing the best possible service to the customer.

"At a time when customer expectation is now much higher than it used to be and council finances are much tighter, to achieve an overall 90.5 per cent satisfaction rate is excellent.

"It doesn't mean we are going to rest on our laurels, though. Our customers did use the survey to highlight a couple of areas where we can make improvements and we are now looking at doing just that."

The survey was completed between May 2009 and September 2009. In Wyre the response rate was 45.9 per cent. New claims and changes to existing claims are currently processed in under seven days.

Peter Mason added: "We aim to maintain this level of processing. During the past couple of years we have experienced an increase in our benefits caseload of 12 per cent. Many of these new customers have already suffered the trauma of losing their jobs and we want to ensure they don't need to worry unduly about paying their rent and/or Council Tax due to delays in processing their claims.

"Equally we don't want those customers with the opportunity of returning to work to be put off because of concerns that any on-going working benefits they are entitled to will be delayed."

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