We’ve been getting some solid feedback on the customer surveys from the councils already involved in the Quality Framework. We’ve now made some changes to the surveys based on this feedback – from small typos to substantive changes, that we hope will help make some of the questions much clearer in their meaning and intention.
The biggest concern for many of you was the ‘review’ question (Q6). This has now been changed to read “Are you happy for the council to contact you about your responses to this survey?” which should remove any suggestion that a review of the council’s decision is available via the survey.
You can see a demonstration version of the updated survey here. All of the changes are also listed below if you’d like to read on.
Do let us know if you there are further things you think we can improve upon. We’re also happy to get you set up on the system if you’re not already on board. Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Intro text: shorter / specific to recipient type (agent/applicant/neighbour)
Applicant: We would like to know how well you think we handled your planning application.
Agent: We would like to know how well you think we handled the planning application you submitted.
Neighbour: You recently commented on the above planning application. We’d like to know how well you think we handled things.
We’ve removed most of the text that was a duplicate of the email copy and removed the reference to the last question re: review as that has now changed. The rest of intro text now reads:
There is only one page of questions. Each question has space for you to leave further comments.
Changes to the ‘review’ survey questions
- Changed review survey intro so read as internal review. It will also now be referred to a ‘peer’ survey
- Removed Duplicate text in review survey: “It might help to think more generally and ask yourself:”
- Review of Decision (change to past tense): ‘How straightforward was our decision?”
- Fixed typos in Agent Q5.
- Relevance equation for ‘Review of Decision’ is now peer.
Changes to ‘additional info’ question
This now reads:
Q: The council usually asks you to send in supporting information with the planning application. Did they use this supporting information well?
hint: Was it clear what additional information was required? Did the council use all the information you provided?
Neighbour question – distinguishing between the process and the application
Note: Q2 is about the planning process generally, Q4 is about the actual application.
Q: How we assess planning applications can sometimes be difficult to comprehend. How well did we help you understand the planning process and engage with it?
hint: The planning process has to be carried out in accordance with a statutory framework and case law. This means that we need to be clear which issues have “weight” or why decisions are made the way they are.
Q: Did our website and the paperwork from the application help you understand the proposal?
hint: We need enough information from the applicant so that everyone involved can understand the proposal.
Was there enough or too much detail for you? Was there information you wanted to know that was missing?
Straightforward decisions / clear communication
The questions ‘How straightforward was our decision?’ (appears in peer review) and ‘How straightforward was the decision in this case?’ (appears in agent and applicant) were really about how clearly we communicated our decision and how easy the decision was for the customer to understand. For example, a complicated route to a decision might be interpreted as not ‘straightforward’ (particularly in the peer review) but the decision communicated could be really clear and concise.
We therefore changed this question and the answer options on the agent/applicant/review to reflect what we are wanting to know.
Here’s the change:
‘How clearly did the council explain its decision?’
- Very clearly
- Reasonably clearly
- Very poorly
- Not relevant to this case
Hint: The council’s decision should be clear and relevant. It should not contain surprises and any conditions should be reasonable.
End text: Simplified
That’s it! Thank you for participating. Understanding what you think about the service you’ve received is essential for improving it.
Moved Not relevant/Not required to bottom of list options.
Behind the scenes
Admin Email Addresses Changed to email@example.com (was at planningbenchmark.co.uk).