Image demonstrating Service with respect for Northumberland’s key workers

Service with respect for Northumberland’s key workers

Find out more about the Institute of Customer Service campaign, ‘Service with Respect’ here.

Northumberland County Council has signed up to the Institute of Customer Service (ICS) campaign ‘Service with Respect’.  

The vast majority of people who make contact with the council treat staff with great respect. However, there are a small minority of customers who unfortunately don’t, and this can have a big impact on staff health and wellbeing. 

The ICS is the foremost leading independent expert, setting and upholding the customer service standards in the UK. Their campaign which launched in 2020 aims to highlight the plight facing many in customer service roles.  

The ICS survey canvassed 1,000 customer-facing employees and 1,000 members of the public and found that more than half (56%) of essential workers have faced abuse from customers during the pandemic – ranging from verbal abuse such as shouting and abusive language to, in the most extreme cases, physical assaults. 

Their campaign calls for three things: 
  • A change to the law to protect customer service professionals, making abuse a standalone offence with legal redress 
  • Business investment to ensure that customer facing staff receive the training and support they need 
  • Customer tolerance that reflects that we are ‘“all in it together’”, with individuals considering the impact of their behaviour in the ongoing crisis.  

Cllr Nick Oliver Cabinet Member for Corporate services said: “Throughout the pandemic, council staff have done a fantastic job continuing services and supporting residents through these difficult times.   

“The overall majority of residents treat staff with respect and compassion, but we sometimes find that a small minority unfortunately don’t.  

“We know that the coronavirus pandemic has had wide-ranging implications for many people and understand that this has caused increased stress and anxiety. However, we would ask people to treat our staff as they would wish to be treated themselves in their dealings with us.  

“As a council, we are fully committed to providing all the support that our staff need to do their jobs, often in difficult circumstances, and reiterate our commitment to them.  

“We are proud to support the ICS campaign and hope residents and businesses alike consider supporting ‘Service with Respect’ too.” 

The council have a robust set of health and safety procedures in place to report any abuse that staff receive and a wide range of holistic support available to protect their mental wellbeing to ensure they can perform their duties in a healthy and safe manner. 

Find out more about the Institute of Customer Service campaign, ‘Service with Respect’ here.

Find out more about the Institute of Customer Service campaign, ‘Service with Respect’ here.

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