The UK government's Best Value initiative is intended to ensure that councils provide best value in service delivery and emphasizes the importance of ensuring a clear customer/citizen focus across all services. The Accounts Commission and Audit Scotland have statutory responsibilities for auditing Scottish council services and have set out the key features of a best value service grouped under 10 criteria. The first of these is that council services must be able to demonstrate that 'they understand the needs, expectations and priorities of all stakeholders'. Local authorities are already using a variety of methods to capture the voice of the customer, with customer surveys being one of the most popular. Such surveys, however, have tended to focus solely on customers' perceptions of services, not their expectations. Audit Scotland has been working with a number of council services to adapt the SERVQUAL approach. This paper will present the results of using an adapted SERVQUAL approach across a range of Scottish council services. The results of the studies will be discussed, the use of SERVQUAL results by service managers reviewed and the contribution of SERVQUAL to continuous improvement assessed.
- customer satisfaction
- local authority services