BOLTON METRO LEGAL SERVICES

BEST VALUE: CONSULTING CUSTOMERS

 

A. INTRODUCTION

 

1. Bolton Metro Legal Services has been consulting customers in the delivery of its services for many years. Over the past five years, however, it has developed formal consultation mechanisms and this paper highlights this important principle of ‘Best Value’.

 

B. CONSULTING CUSTOMERS

 

2. The Division, as part of its CCT preparations for the Legal Services Contract established an Activity Group consisting of its main client/customer departments and representatives from the Legal Services client and service provider. The Group was consulted fully on the CCT preparations; including, inter alia, on:-

 

(a) establishing the criteria for selecting legal activities for the CCT contract;

 

(b) considering the actual legal activities selected for the CCT contract;

 

(c) consulting all departments on the length of contract, the contract conditions and the specification for the CCT contract;

 

(d) assessing the CCT pre-tender questionnaires; and

 

(e) inputting, as necessary, the final tender evaluation processes.

 

 

3. As part of the CCT preparations, the Division established

 

(a) a Charter for Bolton Metro - Legal Services (attached);

 

(b) a Quality Manual that conformed to (and exceeded) the requirements of the Law Society’s Practice Management Standards;

 

(c) a Quality Plan for the CCT contract;

 

(d) a Brochure and Information Pack on Bolton Metro Legal Services;

 

(e) Quality Method Statements for the vast bulk of the activities covered by the Legal Services CCT contract;

 

(f) a Customer Care Plan; and

 

(g) a Quality Monitoring and Performance Review Form.

4. In addition to the foregoing:-

 

(a) client/customers were actually consulted by the in-house CCT team on the actual detail of the Quality Method Statements submitted as part of the CCT tender;

 

(b) a wider client/customer consultation exercise was carried out (on an Annual basis) to gauge the level of client/customer satisfaction with the legal services provided to clients/customers;

 

(c) a regular framework of quarterly meetings with client/customer Departmental Management Teams was established where financial and quality aspects of service provision are discussed openly with client/customers and future plans considered with regard to developments in service provision;

 

(d) 80% of Legal Services budgets were devolved to clients, along with the "freedom" to client/customers to consume more or limit the use of legal services by client/customer departments;

 

(e) regular monthly direct billing of actual use of legal services by clients/customers is provided to clients; and

 

(f) regular performance review reports are provided to members of the Commercial Services Board and the Contract Services Committee of the Council.

 

C. ANNUAL QUALITY QUESTIONNAIRES

 

5. Attached is a copy of the first Annual Quality Questionnaire used to "benchmark" client/customer satisfaction with Bolton Metro Legal Services. Since then, the Annual Quality Questionnaires have been revised slightly to reflect client/ customer feedback (attached). Last year’s Questionnaire is attached for purposes of completeness.

 

 

6. It should also be noted that there is a reciprocal commitment; in that, "Feedback on the Feedback" received is also provided annually to client/customers so that they can see how well/bad we have been doing in comparison to previous years.

 

7. The results have been positive and are indicative of the high level of client/customer satisfaction with Bolton Metro Legal Services:-

 

 

1994

1995 1996

 

 

Excellent / Good

68%

73%

93%

 

Satisfactory

25%

24%

3.5%

 

Poor

7%

3%

3.5%

 

 

 

8. In 1997, 92% of Bolton Metro Legal Services client/customers felt that our overall service provision has either improved or that there has been no change from its previously (93%) excellent/good levels of service. There is not just a quantitative evaluation but also a qualitative assessment of the feedback received from client/customers.

 

 

9. As a result of the continuous feedback received Bolton Metro Legal Services is confident of:-

 

(a) responding proactively to changing needs of client/customers;

 

(b) continuously improving its service provision to client/customers; and

 

(c) its contract profitability for the benefit of the Council.

 

 

Mirza F.N. Ahmad, MBA. Barrister,

Head of Legal Services,

Bolton Metro Legal Services,

Town Hall, Bolton BL1 1RU

Tel: (01204) 522311 Ext: 1111. February , 1998.


Appendix 1 : Click here >appendix1<

Appendix 2 : Click here >appendix2<

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