Figures 'tracking in right direction'

One of the council's Service and Information Centres. PHOTO: CLUTHA DISTRICT COUNCIL
One of the council's Service and Information Centres. PHOTO: CLUTHA DISTRICT COUNCIL
The Clutha District Council is unlikely to hit a new customer service target it put in place last year.

The latest figures for "service request responsiveness" were presented to the council during its corporate services committee meeting in Balclutha yesterday, detailing the percentage of requests updated within the council's five-day target time.

Last July, the council set a one-year target of 100% for the new metric, but this was tracking at an average of only 48% with just three months to go.

While acknowledging the 100% target was "demanding", council group manager corporate services John Scott, who prepared the report, said it should be achievable in most areas of council activity.

"The main purpose of establishing these targets - and taking steps to achieve them through changes in staff practice - is to improve our customer service for ratepayers in an area we were aware required work.

"So although the latest figures still have some way to go, the important thing is they are improving in the majority of areas. These are aspirational targets and we're tracking in the right direction."

Taken out of context, some of the figures could be misleading, he said.

"The initial issue we wanted to address was ratepayers lodging a service request, then failing to receive any subsequent contact from council acknowledging or updating the status of that request. So the figures here don't reflect how well council is actually fulfilling service requests, but communicating what's taken place."

The lowest average response rate since records began last July was 3%, for service requests relating to noise.

Mr Scott said this was an "outlier", caused by a staff member leaving.

"Again, the noise complaints themselves will have been addressed, just not updated within our five-day target.

"It's a situation where we've changed our system and processes, brought in reporting from a standing start, and initially been lacking in sufficient resources ... we've got a renewed customer service focus ... aided by comprehensive training for all staff. I'm confident the steps we've taken will continue to bear fruit."

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