But we may not realise it until a day like today when the Charter
Mark Winners Ceremony puts the spotlight on the creative and can-do
Drawn from all parts of the UK and representing just about every job
in our five million strong public service, this year's 698 Charter Mark
winners have one thing in common: they have reshaped their services
to suit the public.
In so doing, they are fulfilling the government's strategy to
redesign public services around the needs of citizens. These reforms
will be guided by four key principles:
- Setting high national standards
- Empowering front-line staff to encourage diversity and creativity
- Flexibility of employment and incentive
- Promotion of greater choice for consumers
'The battle for world class public services will be won on the
front-line by public servants like the 2001 Charter Mark winners who
are willing and able to consult with customers and to make
improvements to the way they work,' said minister for the cabinet
office, Gus Macdonald. 'This positive change doesn't happen because
Whitehall says so. It is down to the spirit of enterprise and
personal initiative of the people on the ground.'
Each Charter Mark winner has faced its own unique challenge in
providing a better service for the customer. The areas of government
where public interest is greatest such as health, crime and education
are well represented amongst the winners. It can be a hospital
offering 'a relative flat' for members of the patient's family to
stay overnight. It can be a local authority targetting crime
hot-spots with CCTV cameras and a locksmith service. It might be a
school with an interest in the child's development that extends
beyond the classroom into the wider community; or a local authority
with a sensitive but cost-effective solution to asylum seekers'
accommodation. In all cases the winners have consulted those directly
involved. In the words of Lord Macdonald 'Charter Mark Winners
Listen, Learn and Deliver'.
The current batch of winners illustrate other key principles of the
- A customer support service for housing association offers speedy
resolution of customer queries. They aim for 90% of calls answered
within 20 seconds.
Be open and provide full information
- A GP offers a range of additional services including citizens
advice, counselling and advice on travel health and slimming. The
practice produces a quarterly patients' newsletter to update on
To encourage access and the promotion of choice
- The thought of a medical procedure like endoscopy tends to cause
nervousness and concern among patients. The Endoscopy Unit visits and
informs patients before the procedure and offer choice of time for
To treat all fairly
- A meals-on-wheels service caters for an ethnically diverse
population. It offers diverse cuisine and ability to create
To put things right when they go wrong
- There is an 18% non-attendance rate for hospital appointments.
This is reduced by 5% by ringing patients the day before.
To use resources effectively
- A library service has to maintain levels of service in the face
of financial cut-backs. It introduces on-line solutions for the
renewal of books and for enquiries and offers access to networked PCs
To innovate and improve
- A local authority needs to communicate with less active residents
on benefits and local services. It installs teleconferencing
facilities at points in the area allowing access to council staff.
To work with other providers
- An environmental health team can't act without evidence of noise
from neighbours. It works in partnership with an acoustic company to
develop a monitoring system that enables noise sufferers to get the
To provide user satisfaction
- A Post Office has a large number of customers with sensory
impairment. It provides information in braille and even provides sign
language training for staff.
In recognition that this was the 10th Charter Mark Winner's ceremony
since the scheme began in 1992, Lord Macdonald praised the 'constant
quest for service improvement' of the 15 winners who have had their
Charter Mark renewed successively over that time.
Lord Macdonald also paid tribute to the three special awards winners
whose work with elderly people, children and young people have won
awards from the UK charities, Help the Aged, Age Concern and Save the
- Help the Aged/Age Concern
The Struell Lodge Residential and Resource Centre, Northern Ireland -
for people with learning disabilities. This centre's partnership with
the Oaklea Housing Project has provided housing accommodation so that
users can live near to the centre. Struell Lodge has previously won
the NHS Award for Best Patient Focussed Facility in the UK.
- Save the Children UK
The Eden Park Infants & Nursery School, Torbay - for its close links
with parents and the community and its self-esteem development
Dumfries & Galloway Council Libraries, Information & Archives - for
its consultation and involvement of children and young people in the
delivery of library services
1. A full list of winners is available here.
A regional breakdown as well as the sectoral breakdown is also
available on the site.
2. From the 698, winners, 376 have won the award for the first time,
219 are second time winners, 87 are third time winners and 15 have
demonstrated outstanding levels of achievement by winning a Charter
Mark for the fourth time. 35% of winners came from local government,
11% from the health sector, and 13% from the education sector.
3. Final decisions on Charter Mark applications are made by a panel
of independent judges chaired by Baroness Perry of Southwark.
4. Charter Marks are awarded for three years, after which
organisations must apply to renew their award. To win another Charter
Mark, organisations must show real improvements in service. A Charter
Mark may be withdrawn at any time by the judging panel if standards
fall below the high quality expected of a Charter Mark holder.
5. Any public service providing a service direct to the public, which
manages its own staff and budget can apply for a Charter Mark.
Voluntary organisations who receive more than 10% of their income
from public funding and also commercial organisations which are
sub-contractors to the public sector can apply for a Charter Mark.
PAUL MURPHY CONGRATULATES WELSH CHARTER MARK WINNERS
Welsh winners of the government's Charter Mark have been congratulated by the secretary of state for Wales, Paul Murphy.
This year, there were more than 30 winners from Wales, and Mr Murphy praised the high standards of public service they had achieved to win the award.
Mr Murphy said today: 'Charter Marks are awarded for three years, and this year's winners join a number of other Welsh organisations which have won awards in recent years.
'The award winners are all providing an excellent service to meet the needs of the public and, in doing so, are helping to achieve the government's strategy to redesign public services around people's needs.
'My congratulations to all the Charter Mark winners on their success in meeting the challenge of providing a better service for their customers.'
The Welsh winners (with phone numbers) are:
Barry and the Vale of Glamorgan Benefits Agency, Barry
Benefits Agency - Mid Glamorgan District, Bridgend
Benefits Agency - West Wales, Llanelli
Breast Test Wales/Bron Brawf Cymru, Cardiff
Pontypridd Jobcentre (Bridgend and Glamorgan Valleys)
Cardiac Rehabilitation Department, The Royal Glamorgan Hospital, Llantrisant
Careers Wales Gwent, Pontypool
Careers Wales Mid Glamorgan, Treforest
Caswell Clinic - Bro Morgannwg NHS Trust, Bridgend
Ceredigion Cleaning Services, Property Maintenance and Facilities, Aberystwyth
Companies House, Cardiff
CSA - South East Wales FTF, Pontypridd
Customer Services Section, County Hall, Swansea
Cynon Taf Housing Association, Aberdare
Department of Cardiac Rehabilitation, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff
Dyfed Powys Police, Carmarthen
Employment Service - Disability Services Wales, Swansea
Employment Service - Newport, Torfaen and Monmouth District, Cwmbran
Employment Service - North East Wales District, Wrexham
Employment Service - North West Wales District, Caernarfon
Employment Service - West Wales District, Haverfordwest
Gwent Probation Service, Pontypool
Learning Disability Directorate of Bro Morgannwg NHS Trust, Hensol Hospital,
Marshfield Primary School, Castleton
Newydd Housing Association (1974) Ltd. Vale Regional Team, Barry
Rhyl Jobcentre (North Wales Coast Employment Service)
North Wales Group Valuation Office Agency, Wrexham
Pembrokeshire College, Haverfordwest
Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend
South West Wales Face to Face Team, Swansea
Department for Work and Pensions (Swansea Bay District)
The Forge Centre, Bridgend
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff