The police complaints-handling team from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) has been recognised for its customer service excellence.
The Resolution Team is the first OPCC-led complaints team in the country to gain the prestigious Customer Service Excellence Award.
The Centre for Public Excellence rigorously assessed staff against a framework of 57 standards.
They included setting and measuring targets for public satisfaction, making sure the service is easy to access and listening to – and learning from – customer feedback.
New complaints model
In February 2022, Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner introduced a new complaints’ model.
This was in a bid to improve accessibility, independence, timeliness and customer satisfaction.
Under the new model, the team initially handles all expressions of dissatisfaction about Cleveland Police. The force originally fulfilled this role itself.
One of just two forces in the country to make the change, Steve is confident that his team’s complaints’ system is now “the best of its kind in the country.”
He said: “Gaining this award is an amazing achievement and shows just how far the Resolution Team has come in less than two years.
“The Customer Service Excellence award has further assisted us in making sure we have all the necessary tools to deliver an excellent complaint handling service, which puts people at the core of what we do.
“This is an independent validation of our achievement in providing an exemplary complaints’ handling service.
“However, we want to continuously improve. As a result, we have opted to be assessed annually to ensure we maintain these excellent standards and keep the award.”
More positive outcomes
The Resolution Team aims to resolve public complaints quickly and provide a positive outcome for the complainant.
One of the model’s key features is a single point of contact for anyone who gets in touch. Staff also make sure the public and police receive a fair, open and customer-focussed service.
People can expect the team to log and respond to a complaint within a day. Complaints are being dealt with immediately, where possible.
In cases where a more detailed explanation is needed, it takes on average 13 working days to deal with complaints. This compares to the national average of 17 working days*
The PCC is keen for the force to learn from public feedback. As a result, he has pledged to work with Cleveland Police to share information.
Where appropriate, the PCC will focus police scrutiny on trends and themes from complaints
*Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC): Quarter 1 Statistics for 2023-24