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We are never far away from a local hero of public service. ...
We are never far away from a local hero of public service.

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

approach to customer service of many of our public servants.

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


Set standards

- 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

personalised menu.

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

at libraries.

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

Children UK.

These are:

- 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

amongst pupils

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.


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

S4C, Cardiff

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

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