Kensington & ChelseaNews

Council sets new customer standards to improve resident relationships after Grenfell

By Adrian Zorzut, Local Democracy Reporter

A council said it hopes new co-designed service standards improve relationships with residents six years on from the Grenfell tragedy.

Kensington and Chelsea council’s website shows changes to ensure residents feel seen and heard, are being implemented over a two year period, with a large chunk already in place.

Councillor Johnny Thalassites, the lead member for customer service, said the new standards are part of a change to make the council greener, safer and fairer.

He said: “By setting them we want to become the best council we can be for our communities and build a positive legacy following the tragedy.

“After the tragedy, people told us we have failed to listen to our communities. These new service standards have been co-designed with residents where we have listened to their experiences with the council and understood what they need from us.”

The councillor said Kensington and Chelsea council “probably wasn’t doing this type of work often” before the new scheme was introduced.

He said: “What we were trying to understand was what was these people’s experience of interacting with the council. People have a range of experiences.”

After more than a year of consultation and development with residents, Kensington and Chelsea council introduced new standards setting a new bar for customer service.

This includes guidelines on what residents can expect when they contact the council and describe how residents want to feel, what the local authority can do to achieve that and how council staff and services should respond.

The council spoke to a panel of residents who provided feedback in various meetings since last summer.

This group of 15 demographically diverse residents, who were blind selected after a consultation period open to the public, and council officers came together to draft new standards.

The standards were then open to a wider public consultation in April and May this year with an online questionnaire for staff and residents and events for staff, residents and stakeholders. Staff were also consulted.

Cllr Thalassites said: “I think what has been obvious is that there were mistakes in the past and there were people who felt that relationships were strained between the council and some people in the community.

“And so the culture change we’re trying to undergo, and that’s always a process, is about trying to strengthen those relationships and making sure everybody feels listened to.”

Pictured top: Members of the public at the memorial at the base of Grenfell Tower (Picture: PA)

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