Headlines: November 24th, 2008

Ensuring high quality service levels is at the heart of efficiency whether the organisation makes heavy machinery or collects council tax. The Society of IT Management plans to introduce a service that will allow councils to measure how well they are doing at ‘getting it right first time’, a key indicator of quality.

For a council, failing to get it right first time can be because a customer did not realise that she/he had all the information required and then made a further call that was not necessary, or when the same information has to be given to someone else, or when the customer has to progress chase. Collecting data to identify these situations can be difficult and costly.

They facility planned by the Society is an addition to the existing Website take-up service which tracks user satisfaction with council websites. The user survey will now include a question on whether they have been able to do what they came to the website to do. If they answer ‘no’, then an avoidable contact is created, because they will now have to make another contact with the council.

Over 90 councils use the current service and some 30,000 visitors completed surveys in September 2008.

Data on avoidable contacts is one of the 198 indicators against which local government will be assessed within the new Performance Management Framework. First reports on the indicator are due in April 2009.