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Mark of Excellence for putting customers first during Covid

Thursday, January 13, 2022

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High standards of customer service are being achieved by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council during the pandemic, say independent assessors.

The Council has been accredited with meeting all 57 points of compliance within the Government’s Customer Service Excellence (CSE) mark, which rewards organisations who demonstrate a customer-focused commitment to all they do.

Following a rigorous review by assessors in October, the Council was complimented for the services it has delivered during the pandemic, and for the ‘energy and enthusiasm’ shown by staff during this difficult time.

In addition, the Council was recognised for best practice in 17 ‘Compliance Plus’ areas - awarded where particular strength is demonstrated that exceeds requirements of the standard.

Assessors found a number of examples of high standards the Council should be ‘really proud of’, including:

  • Many comments that customers feel supported.
  • Support for people who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable, contact tracing and surge testing.
  • Ongoing support for informal carers, single point of access for Mental Health support, support to businesses, development of Covid marshals.
  • Focus on the increased inequalities caused by COVID.
  • Increase in digital service users including library, customer services, and events.
  • Staff feel they are making a difference.
  • Support for staff working from home and HR communication and engagement, including through social media and Stockton News.

Councillor Steve Nelson, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Access, Communities and Community Safety, said: “We are incredibly proud of the outcome of our assessment which recognises our commitment to putting our customers at the very heart of our work.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of not just the customer services staff but of all staff who have really stepped up during these challenging times.

"Despite the impact of Covid the response of all Council staff has been little short of heroic. Talking to residents I know the vast majority are very appreciative of the way key services have continued despite the Council staff being massively impacted by Covid itself. When the inspector commented on the energy and enthusiasm of customer services staff he could easily have been talking about all staff."

CSE accreditation operates on a three-year cycle, starting with a full assessment followed by two annual reviews to ensure standards are maintained.

The Council has demonstrated continuous improvement in the current CSE cycle when full accreditation was awarded in 2019, with 13 Compliance Plus elements. In the 2020 follow-up review the assessor observed that many commercial organisations would be ‘envious of the agility and effectiveness’ demonstrated by the council during the pandemic.

For details about how to contact our Customer Services team and information about the Council's customer service standards and targets visit