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Charter Marks all-round


In a round of public self-congratulation most government ministries were yesterday racing to printers and websites with news of their latest successes in gaining the government’s Charter Mark. Winners of the Charter Mark award came from organisations reporting into the health department, the education and employment department, the social services department, the department of culture, media and sport, the Lord Chancellor’s department, the Treasury and Inland Revenue and the Home Office.

Amongst winners of the public service award were 40 Employment Service Districts and Teams, bringing the total number of jobcentres given the award to nearly 600.

Leigh Lewis, the Employment Service Chief Executive, told award winners meeting in London:

“We are now the largest of Charter Mark anywhere in the public sector. That reflects the huge efforts you’ve made in recent recent years to influence the standards of service we give to both people looking for work and employers. We have long since banished the ‘Full Monty’ image; now we have to surpass the highest, not the lowest expectations.”

The Charter Mark is a quality improvement tool that fucuses on customer service issues. Any public service providing a service direct to the public, which manages its own staff and budget can apply for a Charter Mark. Voluntary organisations who receive more than 10% of their
income from public funding and also commercial organisations which are sub-contractors to the public sector can apply for a Charter Mark.

It is a programme that has an especially high take-up in the public sector, and is being used as a central part of the government’s drive to modernise services. This year 36% of winners came from local government, 18.5% from the health sector, and 14.5% from the education sector

In Tuesday’s awards ceremony, 744 organisations were awarded the Charter Mark, of which 498 were first time recipients, 187 were second time winners whilst 59 had been awarded the Charter Mark for the third time.

To win a Charter Mark, organisations must demonstrate that they
meet ten criteria:

  • Set standards of service;
  • Be open and provide full information;
  • Consult and involve;
  • Encourage access and the promotion of choice;
  • Treat all fairly;
  • Put things right when they go wrong;
  • Use resources effectively;
  • Innovate and improve;
  • Work with other providers; and
  • User satisfaction.

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