Customer case management policy for unacceptable customer behaviours and actions

How the council manages unacceptable customer behaviours and actions

Staff members should always refer behaviours which they believe are unacceptable to their line manager who will decide how to address the issue. Staff are not authorised to apply sanctions for this type of behaviour.

To progress the issue, the customer’s name and contact details along with an account of numbers/types of contact and behaviours should be brought to the attention of the head of service for the department affected. The head of service will then meet with the Executive Director, Resources and Support Services, assisted by the Customer Relations Officer. They will jointly decide whether or not it is appropriate to invoke the customer case management policy.

On occasion it may be deemed appropriate that another officer assists with a Customer Case Management case. This would usually occur if the Customer Relations Officer has been involved in previous communications with the customer, directly associated with the potential implementation of the customer case management policy.

Prior to any sanctions under the customer case management policy being invoked, the Customer Relations Officer will write to the customer (via letter or email if appropriate) to explain that their correspondence will be monitored for a period of three months, or less if deemed appropriate. The following information will be provided to the customer:

  • the behaviour that has caused concern
  • the expectations of the council with regards to future contact and behaviour from the customer
  • the time period for which their contact will be monitored - usually three months
  • the name and contact details of the person who will be their single point of contact from the date of the letter. This person will usually be the Customer Relations Officer
  • the potential outcome, including any sanctions, if the customer’s behaviour does not significantly change
  • a copy of the customer case management policy

Once the letter has been received, in normal circumstances, the customer will be expected to only contact the council via the nominated staff member, normally the Customer Relations Officer who will monitor the frequency and content of the contact for a period of three months or less, if deemed appropriate. However there may be instances where, for purposes of service delivery, correspondence may continue between the customer and a designated officer in the service area e.g. where a customer continues to submit and receive planning advice regarding an application. Such correspondence will also be monitored by the Customer Relations Officer for compliance with the policy. During this period the Customer Relations Officer may invite the customer to attend a meeting if it is felt that this may help to resolve the situation.

The Customer Relations Officer will inform by email, the Chief Executive, Executive Directors, Heads of Service, Business Managers and Elected Members once a customer is being monitored in line with the customer case management policy. Officers are responsible for ensuring that staff know what action should be taken if the customer contacts them. In normal circumstances they would be immediately referred to the Customer Relations Officer.

If after three months or less, as detailed in the letter or email sent to them, the Executive Director, Resources and Support Services and the Customer Relations Officer deem that contact has been acceptable, a letter or email will be written to the customer to thank them for their co-operation and to inform them that their contact will no longer be monitored.

The Customer Relations Officer will inform by email, the Chief Executive, Executive Directors, Heads of Service, Business Managers and Elected Members once a customer is no longer being monitored in line with the customer case management policy and this information should be passed on to all staff.

If after three months or less, as detailed in the letter or email sent to them, the Executive Director, Resources and Support Services and the Customer Relations Officer deem that the customer's contact has continued to be unacceptable, the Chief Executive may decide to apply one of the following sanctions:

  • extend the monitoring period
  • limit the contacts to a certain number per week/month, in a specified form (telephone/email/letter etc.) and during a particular time slot
  • in extreme circumstances ask the customer not to contact the council for a period of time after which the customer case management policy will be invoked again to monitor contact for a further period of three months

The customer must be informed in writing (via letter or email if appropriate) by the Customer Relations Officer of any sanctions.

The Customer Relations Officer will inform by email, Executive Directors, Heads of Service, Business Managers and Elected Members when any sanctions are put in place and officers should ensure that all members of staff have clear instructions as how to proceed if the customer contacts them.

If the Chief Executive decides they will have no further contact with a customer, the Customer Relations Officer must take all reasonable steps to advise all council staff and elected members of future arrangements for handling that customer.