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Proactive approach lifts council service levels

20 July 2006

Proactive approach lifts council service levels

Auckland City Environments, the regulatory arm of the council, is continuing to make improvements in customer service following initiatives in staff training, complaints handling and streamlining the consents process, and by providing more on-line services to speed the exchange of information.

Auckland City's Planning and Regulatory Committee heard that training had led to staff producing proactive solutions to customer requests rather than "just explaining the process".

Committee chairperson Cr Glenda Fryer said it was pleasing to hear of the positive improvements outlined in a report from service development manager Martin Hall.

"Staff working at Auckland City Environments have more than 300,000 customer contacts a year and because their work is often based on seeking compliance this can have an effect on customer relationships," said Councillor Fryer.

"Responding to customers in a positive way to help provide proactive solutions lifts customer confidence in our services, increases staff confidence and improves customer relations." A range of new services making it much easier for a wide range of customers to receive information on their own and neighbouring properties, particularly through online delivery, was proving particularly popular.

Initiatives include the Good Neighbour programme, a "no surprises" initiative where council writes to owners of immediately adjacent properties when a building consent for work over $200,000 is issued. The new online property page, www.aucklandcityproperties.govt.nz , guides customers to five property products that can be purchased online.

They are · LIM reports, which help identify issues or possible restrictions on a property

1 property file CDs, containing information Auckland City holds on a property file

2 neighbourhood reports, advising what property activity is planned and what licences are held near a particular property

3 building consent reports, advising what building work on a property has been approved

4 rates online with information on a property's 2002 and 2005 capital values, land area and construction type. A recent offer of a free neighbourhood report normally priced at $95 produced more than 6000 requests handled online, introducing people to the benefits of time-saving online transactions.

Other initiatives to help customers have included a DVD for new migrants on compliance issues, and the streamlining of consent processing by holding training sessions and distributing key technical notes to professionals involved in the building industry explaining regulatory processes and lodgement requirements.


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