On 29 July the City of Yarra published a press release explaining its new customer service guarantee. It contains many new promises relating to improved service delivery to Yarra residents. Apart from making no mention of its prior promise to build more public toilets, which I think is a fundamental issue for visitors to Yarra’s shopping strips, the guarantee acknowledges many of the issues I have raised here. I’m not claiming responsibility or credit for most of these, as I believe many are based on complaints from many constituents.

For example, they state “We will respond to your email with an acknowledgement within 1 working day.” I’ve previously waited 3 or 4 days for a response, and sometimes never received one, so this will be a great improvement.

They have made further reference to their recently announced plans to upgrade their website: “We will redesign the Council website and ensure it is fully accessible, in accordance with guidelines established by the World Wide Web Consortium” and “We will upgrade Council’s website to ensure information is expanded and updates are made daily”. This is excellent news.

A significant new initiative is the promise that “All eateries in Yarra will be subject to an inspection by a health officer every six months.” Previously, mandatory inspections were annual. So Yarra is going to double their efforts in this area! I will claim some credit for this policy, as Fitroyalty has made food hygiene in Fitzroy a major issue in 2009. As I revealed, over 20% of business failed initial inspections during the period January 2008 to May 2009. I read this as an acknowledgement from Council that it needs to do more to improve food hygiene.

Update 25 August 2009: since I wrote this post the City of Yarra has altered its customer service guarantee page. The statement that it would inspect all eateries every six months has been deleted. It has been replaced by the statement:

All eateries in Yarra will be subject to an inspection by a health officer at least once every 12 months.

This is no improvement on the current situation. Why did they make this promise and then retract it? I’m extremely annoyed by this. I’m pleased and encouraged by this new customer service guarantee. What do you think? What other issues are important to you?

the City of Yarra’s new customer service guarantee

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