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Councils across Lincolnshire are blazing a trail nationally to bring staff and customers a better deal....
Councils across Lincolnshire are blazing a trail nationally to bring staff and customers a better deal.

District authorities and the county council this week announced joint membership of the Institute of Customer Services and the start of an impressive professional training programme for staff.

In doing so, they become the first group of local authorities nationally, to sign up.

The ICS was established in 1997 and now has more than 240 members. It is backed by central government and many other local government organisations.

Customers now expect tip-top service that is consistently professional, of a high quality and that is tailor-made to fit the expectations of customers and staff alike.

Membership of the ICS will help staff achieve these demanding standards while providing the skills and qualifications recognised by a professional body.

All training is done in-house and at a rate that suits the person. There are three awards that bring individual Institute membership for staff:

- Communications

- Solutions

- Innovations

The communications award establishes and promotes good relations with customers. Solutions gives training on how to solve problems for an individual customer and Innovations demonstrates the skills to provide new and innovative service improvements that can often enhance the service for hundreds and even thousands of customers.

John Day, chair of the Lincolnshire ICS Forum said: 'This coming together of local authorities in the county has been prompted by a recognition from all of us that whilst we all have individual customers with varying needs and requirements, they are all citizens of the county and should therefore expect no difference in approach to customer service from one to another. Improving the whole customer experience is our primary aim. In Lincolnshire we all have staff that are fully committed to providing the high-quality services demanded by today's discerning customer - but we want to do better still.

'We see membership of the ICS and their professional awards scheme, and the coming together in training and development as an important step to improving further our existing skills, while giving anyone working within the authorities the chance to gain professional qualifications that are nationally recognised.

'The ultimate aim of this local government partnership is to ensure that wherever you go in Lincolnshire, the same high standards of customer service will be in place, improving the whole experience for customers and staff alike.'

David Parsons, chief executive of the ICS, added: 'We are delighted to be supporting this innovative initiative in Lincolnshire. Customers expect a high standard of service and staff who acquire the skills to deliver this consistently deserve recognition as customer service professionals. ICS exists to help make this possible.'

The Lincolnshire ICS forum partners are: Lincolnshire CC, Boston BC, East Lindsey DC, North Kesteven DC, South Holland DC, South Kesteven DC and West Lindsey DC.

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