Why use these standards
DWP is making vital reforms to welfare, the labour market and pensions. High quality communications are crucial in helping the public understand and navigate complex change.
Every day, colleagues up and down the country work incredibly hard to deliver a great service to our claimants. In DWP we are good at this: our customer surveys tell us that most of our claimants are either satisfied or very satisfied with our service.
|But we know we can do more to help those who need additional support from us. Making our communications simpler and clearer will reduce avoidable contact from confused or uncertain claimants. Getting our letters, emails, conversations and tweets right first time will create more time to support claimants, making our jobs more effective and more rewarding. Introduction We make contact with millions of people every week through letters, leaflets, text messages, and telephone and face-to-face conversations. The quality of this communication directly affects our quality of service, how quickly we’re able to deal with claims and enquiries, and what claimants do as a result of the communication. Communications, in other words, have a huge impact on efficiency and claimant behaviour.
For too long, we’ve lacked a clear and consistent view of what good looks like in claimant communications. As a result, many products lack clarity of message. They fail to put the claimant at the heart of our communications, reflecting the language and reading ability of our staff rather than of the often-vulnerable people we need to engage. The confusion which results from this drives high levels of avoidable contact. Given the efficiency challenges we face, it’s vital that we address this.
These standards set the bar for quality and consistency in operational communications. They aren’t optional: they are at the heart of wider improvements we’re making to take a more coordinated and professional approach to claimant communications across the department.
I feel strongly, too, that these standards should drive improvements in how we communicate with each other. If we apply the same principles of clarity and structure to staff communications products such as policy briefings and staff guidance, improved quality will filter through to products for claimants.
Please use these standards across all claimant communications, and play your part in helping colleagues in Strategic Communications further develop them.
Noel Shanahan, Director General of Operations