Decision details

Engagement Standards Update

Decision Maker: Cabinet member health and adult wellbeing

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: Yes



To approve revised customer service standards which outline the methods of contact and expected response time.  This update is based on increased use of digital contact and introduces new standards including notice period on temporarily closing offices, standard consultation periods and dealing with unreasonable behaviour.  The standards are published on the council website to outline what residents should expect when contacting Herefordshire Council.  Whilst these standards cover general contact with the council there will also be different requirements which will be in legal frameworks (e.g. freedom of information requests) which will be outlined separately.  The standards have been set to realistically balance the council's resources with reasonable response time.



(a)       The objectives of engagement standards in paragraph 11 are accepted; and

(b)  The updated standards outlined in paragraph 16 are agreed.



Alternative options considered:

1.            That the standards are not updated.  The standards as already published on the council website (link) can remain as they are which would be acceptable in terms of generally still being relevant.  However this is not reflective of the recommended changes which bring the standards up to date and relevant for increased digital contact.

2.            That the response times for enquiries are reduced.  This is possible but would challenge the organisation in meeting those expectations considering resources and demands on services which have to deal with safety and safeguarding as a priority.

3.            That the council does not have any published standards.  Authorities have gone down this route.  However, having standards does two functions – one, so there is an expectation communicated to residents; two, that officers and members know what is expected of them in terms of engagement with residents.


Wards Affected: (All Wards);

Contact: Natalia Silver, Assistant Director Corporate Support Email: Tel: 01432260732.

Publication date: 10/02/2020

Date of decision: 10/02/2020

Effective from: 15/02/2020

Accompanying Documents: