Planning Team Customer Service Standards

Planning Team Customer Service Standards

We will:

  • Regularly ask our customers for feedback about our customer service   
  • Use customer feedback to help shape the services we deliver
  • Ensure our staff are trained and competent to deliver our services
  • Ensure all staff are trained in customer service

General Principles

We will:

  • Provide easy to follow online guidance to assist you in making a planning application, commenting on a planning application or to make use of the other services offered by the team
  • Always have trained staff dealing with your planning application, and make all decisions in line with the Council’s Constitution
  • Provide a detailed pre-application advice service (fees apply), and aim to respond within 21 days
  • Give all applicants the name and direct contact details of the specific officer dealing with your planning application
  • Provide you with detailed advice and 10 working days to ‘make-good’ any applications that we find are invalid on receipt
  • Ensure that all new valid applications are available to view online every week, together with all decisions issued during the previous week
  • Engage with you actively if you experience any problems with your planning application and ensure that Officers are accountable for explaining decisions and responding to any concerns you raise
  • Respond to all enquiries submitted to planning.customercare@west-lindsey.gov.uk (this is the best way to contact the team with general questions) within 2 working days, and provide you with a named contact in the team

In addition, the Planning Team work closely within the council’s adopted 7-Point Customer Service Standards framework. We are proud of the service offered but are always seeking to improve this for our customers wherever possible. Click on each of the 7 standards below to see examples of how we have changed the service already, and details of further improvements we are working on right now.   

  • Free-to-access ‘Duty Planner’ service operational 3 days per week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)
  • Detailed review of pre application guidance scheduled for late 2018
  • Automated responses to confirm receipt of ‘Planning Customer Care’ email enquiries
  • Recruitment has focused on specific skills/knowledge to enhance our professional knowledge base
        
  • Weekly Highways/Drainage meetings with Lincolnshire County Council
  •  Partnership meeting with Environment Agency being established
  • Partners involved in reviewing our pre-application advice guide
  • Professional planning training provided to our Members and Parish Councils
  • Developer and Agent forums are held with the development industry
  • West Lindsey District Council’s (WLDC) website hosts information directing customers to additional support, services and advice
  • Improved links to the Planning Portal (The majority of planning applications are submitted online via the Planning Portal)
  • Expanded and improved our range of detailed guidance and web pages (planning is amongst WLDC’s most visited pages)
  • Continuing to provide the Duty Planner service
  • Delivered extensive Neighbourhood Planning support directly to over 40 parish areas
  • Dealt with 100 formal complaints received in line with the council’s procedures
  • Enhanced ‘self-serve’ in addition to face-to-face/telephone service options
  • Developed the council’s Pre-app service to assists customers to front load their application and decide whether or not to proceed to the application stage
  • Reviewed all of our IT systems and all letters and notices issued by the team to make these easier to understand
  • Invited the Planning Advisory Service to undertake a Peer Review of our services
  • Full Audit of the service, resulting in a rating of ‘Substantial Assurance’ (Nov 2017) for the team (findings published and promoted via press release)
  • Exceptional performance published by Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)
  • Consistent appeal outcomes published online and reported to Planning Committee
  • This is now built into complaints review process
  • Increased use of ‘thank you’ cards – e-mail recognition of achievements (especially appeal results)
  • Compliments received in 2016/17 significantly exceeded formal complaints
  • Very few planning service complaints (most are regarding objection to a decision)
  • All officers are expected to be involved in complaints relating to their cases or work area
  • Officers have been, and will be, involved in delivering workshops/training to Members/Parish Councils
  • 1-2-1’s include a review of any cases going out of time (this is also reviewed by management)
  • Service/Business Plan to carefully plan and develop the team in the year ahead
  • Positive reviews received for recent publications (Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) / Section 106 documents)
  • Communications plan for service programmed for 2018/19
  • Increased use of social media/press releases in 2017/18
  • Customer champion in team, established as a key part of their role
  • General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) are being incorporated providing transparency on how we use customer data   
  • Reviewed protocols and delegations in 2017 to ensure consistency of decisions
  • Published guidance explaining what we can and cannot take into account in planning (training is also provided to Members/Parishes on this)
  • As above - Increased accountability, whereby staff deal directly with comments/complaints   

Planning

West Lindsey District Council
Guildhall, Marshall's Yard
Gainsborough
DN21 2NA

Email: planning.customer.care@west-lindsey.gov.uk