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About Us

We are embracing the localism agenda. Its priority is to improve the way it engages and empowers the voluntary and community sector (VCS), Town and Parish Councils and local businesses. We strive to be open first - a listening council and one committed to improving the way we engage with customers and partners.

To ensure we act on our commitment to improve the way we listen and engage, we have developed OPEN FIRST our charter for engagement:

OPEN - To trying new ideas and approaches in the way we do business, challenging what we do, why and how. Providing a source of leadership and promoting best practice. To act as a conduit, sign poster and enabler who provides information, support and guidance. Communicating, involving, engaging and empowering effectively. Building positive and collaborative relationships. Responding to each other, residents, customers and our partners in a timely and appropriate manner.

  • Fairness - being objective to balance the needs of all those in our community;
  • Integrity - being open, honest and taking responsibility;
  • Respect - embracing and valuing the diversity of others;
  • Service - delivering high quality, cost effective public service;
  • Trust - delivering on our promises to each other, customers and our partners.

This charter is for all staff within Swale Borough Council and Councillors elected to the Council to embrace and use as a guiding philosophy when engaging with the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS), Town and Parish Councils and local businesses. It reinforces the principles of the Kent Partners Compact 2012.

Consultation policy statement

The Consultation Policy Statement is about consultation with the wider public, voluntary and community sector (VCS), town and parish councils and businesses.

After a Cabinet decision on 4 July 2012 to adopt the Kent Partners Compact and champion the commitments in it not just with the VCS but to all sectors, business and customers, Senior Management Team have agreed to this policy commitment about consultation by the Council.

We will aim:

  • to consult preferably for 12 weeks, but for a minimum of at least 8 weeks, on any large changes to policy, strategy or change in service provision. This will not apply where a legal or statutory requirement states otherwise; for example it will not be appropriate to follow such guidelines for some specific statutory consultations under planning regulations involving development management decisions (i.e. those relating to planning and other applications) and local development framework programmes. If there are exceptional circumstances where this may not be practically possible, we will explain this fully when we consult
  • to ensure that any policy, strategy or service provision that changes as a result of the consultation can show how the consultation results have been taken into account
  • to ensure that results and outcomes of any consultation is fed back to the public using the 'You said we did' approach, and sent down our usual communication channels such as the website and the Inside Swale residents magazine.

When you use our services we will

  • Listen to your views
  • Be professional, polite and helpful
  • Take responsibility for your enquiry and deal with it as quickly as possible
  • Treat everyone fairly
  • Ensure our staff are trained to do their jobs effectively and efficiently
  • Work with local people to provide local services

Our aim is to

  • Answer the phone promptly, making sure that you can speak to someone who can help
  • Reply to letters and emails within 10 working days
  • See personal callers as quickly as we can
  • Get things right first time and say sorry if we don’t
  • Provide a choice of ways to easily access our services and communications
  • Communicate with you in a clear and understandable way
  • Meet the departmental service standards that our teams are committed to
  • Regularly review working practices to provide great service and value
  • Make Swale a better place

You can help us by

  • Giving us the information we need to help you
  • Treating our staff politely and with respect at all times - we will not be able to help you if you are aggressive, intimidating, threatening, violent or use bad language
  • Letting us know when we do a good job or where we can improve our service

Customer Service Standards

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