The Standard is a useful tool in helping to assist public service organisations, to develop and bring about customer focused change; acts as a driver of continuous improvement, a skills development tool and as an independent validation of achievement.

In August 2009 the Authority underwent a full 2 day assessment against the new Customer Service Excellence (CSE) standard and successfully achieved this award.

Assessments now take place on an annual basis and in 2022, WYFRS was again successful in retaining the award, gaining particular recognition in the following:

  • Having an in-depth understanding of the characteristics of our current and potential customer groups based on recent and reliable information.
  • Having developed customer insight about our customer groups to better understand their needs and preferences.
  • Making particular efforts to identify hard to reach and disadvantaged groups and individuals and developing our services in response to their specific needs.
  • Having a strategy for engaging and involving customers using a range of methods appropriate to the needs of identified customer groups.
  • Making the consultation of customers integral to continually improving our service and advising customers of the results and action taken.
  • Making positive changes to services as a result of analysing customer experience, including improved customer journeys.
  • Corporate commitment to putting the customer at the heart of service delivery and leaders in our organisation actively supporting this and advocating for customers.
  • Having policies and procedures which support the right of all customers to expect excellent levels of service.
  • Protecting customers’ privacy both in face-to-face discussions and in the transfer and storage of customer information.
  • Empowering and encouraging all employees to actively promote and participate in the customer focused culture of our organisation.
  • Staff are polite and friendly to customers and have an understanding of customer needs.
  • Customer focus is prioritised at all levels of our organisation and evaluate individual and team commitment through the performance management system.
  • Demonstrating how customer-facing staffs’ insight and experience is incorporated into internal processes, policy development and service planning.
  • Valuing the contribution our staff make to delivering customer focused services, and leaders, managers and staff demonstrate these behaviours.
  • Making information about the full range of services we provide available to our customers and potential customers, including how and when people can contact us, how our services are run and who is in charge.
  • Taking reasonable steps to make sure our customers have received and understood the information we provide.
  • Improving the range, content and quality of verbal, published and web based information we provide to ensure it is relevant and meets the needs of customers.
  • Evaluating how customers interact with the organisation through access channels and using this information to identify possible service improvements and offer better choices.
  • Having made arrangements with other providers and partners to offer and supply co-ordinated services, and these arrangements have demonstrable benefits for our customers.
  • Developing co-ordinated working arrangements with our partners that ensure customers have clear lines of accountability for quality of service.
  • Interacting within wider communities and demonstrating the ways in which we support those communities.
  • Monitoring and meeting our standards, key departmental and performance targets, and telling our customers about our performance.
  • Demonstrating that we deliver the service we promised to individual customers and that outcomes are positive for the majority of our customers.
  • Developing and learning from best practice identified within and outside our organisation, and publishing our examples externally where appropriate.
  • Staff given training and guidance to handle complaints and to investigate them objectively, and can demonstrate that staff are empowered to put things right.
  • Learning from any mistakes we make by identifying patterns in formal and informal complaints and comments from customers and use this information to improve services and publicise action taken.
  • Advising our customers and potential customers about our promises on timeliness and quality of customer service.
  • Identifying individual customer needs at the first point of contact with us and ensure that an appropriate person who can address the reason for contact deals with the customer.
  • Responding to initial enquiries promptly and if there is a delay advising the customer and taking action to rectify the problem

This is an excellent accomplishment recognised and reflected in the Auditors comments which included:

“The pandemic has brought challenges to the Service with some support staff continuing to work from home. Firefighters and other staff have been diverted, with the help of national guidance, to undertake other tasks by volunteering additional hours to support other public services in the community.
This assessment has been very well-prepared. The evidence base is extensive with some 25 new pieces of evidence and a further 123 pieces of active evidence updated.”