NVQ: 'Demonstrate Understanding of the Rules that Impact on Improvements in Customer Service', Part 2
Besides knowing the legislations, regulations, policies, procedures and practices of the organisation, a customer service advisor constantly deals with sensitive client information at all times. This is a very important part of the job role and the candidate needs to be fully knowledgeable about data protection and related matters. Besides this, discrimination, diversity, inclusion and equal opportunities are other important legislations and regulations that need to be handled sensitively.
Also depending on what the organisation does, health and safety is another important area that needs to be focused on.
This unit is a level 3 unit with a credit value of 6 and covers in detail all of the above information. In order to have a look at the first part of this hub, please follow the link below:
3.6. Explain the relevant legislation and external regulation relating to data protection.
Data protection is a very important issue as we deal with sensitive information from customers all the time. For example, date of birth, race, illnesses, religion, criminal offences, bank details, credit and debit card details, and details of finances, details of any violence or abuse, data related to their families, etc. So there are various legislations and regulations that have to be followed while dealing with data from customers and also data relative to the organisation. The following are a few regulations and legislations relative to data protection:
- Consent – Before taking data from customers, and storing them in the organisation as hard or soft copies, one needs to gain consent from the customer and inform them how the data will be used and to whom it will be disclosed to.
- Sensitive data – When dealing with sensitive data like personal information, finance information, etc., the customers have to be informed why these data are gathered and collect them only where necessary.
- Individual rights – This law tells that consumers or customers have rights to access their information or information relative to them. So care has to be taken how these are stored and how these data are used in various forms of communications, for example emails, letters
- Review of files – Occasionally, once a year or twice a year, review all data to see if there are any data that are stored which are out of date. Data that are out of date have to be disposed off securely.
- Disposal of records – When disposing unwanted or out of date records, care has to be taken to destroy sensitive information securely. Hard copies can be disposed off by shredding and soft copies by deleting them securely and making sure they do not exist by any means in the hard drive and that no one is able to retrieve that data by any means of technologies
- Accuracy – All data that are stored need to be accurate. Outdated information or data should never be used and need to be updated on a regular basis. For example using a wrong address for letter communication can get confidential information into the hands of the wrong people and data can be misused.
- Security – Sensitive and confidential data have to be stored securely. Hard copies can be stored in locked cabinets and soft files should be password protected. Computer screens should be locked when away from the desk. While sending confidential information over emails, try your best to avoid, but if needed use secure email.
- Disclosure of data – Data should never be disclosed to anyone like client’s relatives or friends unless the client has given consent. In serious cases, data might have to be shared with police and inland revenue if there are investigations going on.
- Transferring data across the world – If data needs to be transferred out of the country, the person’s consent needs to be obtained.
Data Protection: What you need to know
3.7. Explain the relevant legislation and external regulation relating to disability discrimination and equal opportunities.
The Disability Discrimination Act makes sure that a person with disabilities has access to goods, premises and services, has rights in employment, has rights in health, has rights in education, has rights in buying or renting property and has rights to motoring and transport. This act helps promote equality and end discrimination faced by people with disabilities.
The Equal Opportunities Act makes sure that nobody is discriminated on the grounds of race, disability, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation etc. The policy also protects against harassment and makes sure everyone is treated equally in the areas of recruitment, training, education, housing, employment, health, promotions and appraisals at work, and access to other needs.
3.8. Explain the relevant legislation and external regulation relating to diversity, inclusion and discrimination for reasons other than disability or equal opp
Diversity Act is about valuing the difference. This helps everyone contribute their ideas, recognise their skills and contribute to the community and make it a better place to live.
Inclusion Act helps include all the people in the community or society thereby making decisions together. It removes all barriers and helps everyone participate in learning and employment.
Discrimination Act makes sure that everyone is treated the same and valued for who they are. For example, men and women are treated the same and not refused promotions based on gender.
3.9. Explain the relevant legislation and external regulation relating to health and safety of customers and colleagues.
The Health and safety Act deals with occupational health and safety. The relevant legislation relative to health and safety are,
- Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 – This act ensures health and safety at work for all employees who are engaged in any work activity. It also applies to visitors visiting the site.
- The Workplace Regulations 1992 – This act deals with the conditions of the workplace, like building maintenance, equipment maintenance, lighting, heating, drinking water, ventilation, toilets, first aid, rest facilities etc.
- Manual handling Operations Regulations 1992 – This deal with health risks associated with manual handling. This involves lifting, moving, carrying, pushing etc.
- Control of Asbestos at work Regulations 2006 – This act specifies the risk management of asbestos during building and maintenance work. Asbestos locations, their conditions have to be recorded and monitored.
- Health and Safety Regulations for display screen equipment 1992 – This regulation deals with display screen equipment at work. The work stations and display screens have to meet the minimum requirements and eye tests and other work place assessments have to be carried out for employees who use display screens continuously.
- The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 – This requires employers to maintain all electrical equipment and assess risks and have inspections regularly by well trained staff
- The Reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences Regulations 1995 – This regulation requires employers to report accidents, death, injuries and other dangerous incidents at work.
- The control of substances Hazardous to health regulations 2002 – This deals with control of hazardous substances at work, assess risks, take precautions, and carry out health check-ups on a regular basis.
- The provision and use of work equipment regulations 1998 – The requires employers to provide work equipment suitable for each work and maintain them in good conditions, inspect them periodically following health and safety procedures
- The Construction Regulations 2007 – This deals with safety in construction areas or sites. Measures have to be taken to prevent injury to staff and visitors to the premises.
3.10. Compare the need to balance the requirements of legislation and external regulation with the needs and objectives of your organisation.
The vision of my organisation is,
“We will help our residents live their own lives, enjoy good health, be safe, independent and play a full and active part in the life of the community”
In order to make this happen, we need to work together with all departments and partnership companies, which means
- Work together with the community – where we will have to follow discrimination act, equality act, inclusion act, data protection act and confidentiality
- Provide choices for customers, listen, be open, transparent and honest, be confident and courageous and think differently – while taking into account equality and diversity
- Make the community a safe place for vulnerable people – while following safeguarding procedures, health and safety procedures, discrimination act and community safety procedures.
- Maintain safety – by following health and safety procedures, control of substances, construction regulations, workplace regulations and control of asbestos at work
- Maintain respect and dignity – by treating everyone equal and respecting everyone by following the equality, inclusion and discrimination act
- Have skilled and enthusiastic workers – while still following equal opportunities procedures
- Deliver good service – by following community service policies, complaint and dispute procedures, confidentiality policies, data protection legislation, customer care policy and customer contact procedure
- Learn new procedures as they come into practice as that is the only way to keep yourself updated of new policies and procedures, or existing policy and procedure updates, and that way it helps you deliver quality services error free
The priorities of the Council are
- Supporting and caring for the aging population
- Creating safer communities
- Promoting healthier lifestyles
These will be achieved by
- Improving mental health services – where discrimination procedures are followed
- Improve the quality of practice and data relative to Safeguarding practices – where Safeguarding and protection policies and procedures are followed
- Improved customer information and advice, improve quality of social care contractors performance and improving interworking with health – following community service policies, customer care policies and confidentiality policies and most importantly making sure that communication between teams protocol is followed
- Promote independent, health and safe living – by following access to services procedures for customers taking into consideration, equality, diversity and discrimination procedures
- Meet decent homes standard – following all the health and safety procedures and again following the equality and discrimination policies and procedures
- Excellence in customer service – This puts customers first and will be more person centred. This will look at helping customers making individual choices. This will be achieved by developing employee skills, providing information advice and guidance services, excellent customer service and improving systems to manage and monitor complaints and concerns.
- Reducing inequality – This gives importance to fairness and equity in service delivery. Transforming people’s lives and Choice based lettings are programmes that were introduced recently to ensure that fair services were provided.
3.11. Explain the relevant legislation and external regulation that affect customer service in your industry.
Our organisation deals with customers of all age, gender, ethnicity, religion, race and nationality. It also deals with all the social and community issues of the people in the community. So there are a wide range of policies that have to be followed when it comes to customer service. The customer service department deals mainly with customers over the phone, but there are occasions when customers walk into the area offices when they are unclear of certain procedures or when there is an urgent need or when they are unsure of what they need to do or who they need to contact. The following are the legislations, policies and procedures that affect customer service in our organisation.
- Community services policies and procedures – This has to be followed as we are constantly dealing with customers in the community.
- Complaint and dispute procedures – This is a very important procedure that needs to be followed at all times, because they are very crucial for the development of the organisation.
- Confidentiality policies – This has to be followed at all times, as customer service staff deal with confidential data at all times
- Conflicts procedures – There can be conflicts and disputes between the organisation and the customer or in between staff in the department and these procedures help analyse and identify the right solution
- Equality, Diversity and Discrimination policies – This is a very important policy to follow, as staff deal with clients from a diverse background at all times
- Data protection Legislation – Every staff including customer service staff have to thoroughly abide by the data protection legislation.
- Customer care policy – This policy deals with caring for the customers, tells one what can be done and what cannot be done
- Customer contact procedure – This deals with ways and procedures for customers to get in touch with the organisation.
- Consent, sensitive data and disclosure of data – Customer service staff are the first point of contact for the organisation and hence they deals with sensitive data and information. Care must be taken while collecting these data and customers must be advised of how this data will be stored and when and with whom it will be shared. Some customers might be giving consent to share data with a few members of their family or friends. Also staff need to take care when dealing with this data and while disclosing information to partnership organisations like police and inland revenue.
- Disposal of records – All records must be disposed after use or after the expiry date in the right manner, for example, shredding hard copies and deleting soft copies.
- Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 – All staff have to work in an environment that is physically safe structure wise and all electrical equipment have to be serviced and wired properly with no trailing wires. Asbestos control has to be closely monitored and any accidents or injuries at work need to be correctly reported. The workstations and display screens that staff use need to be positioned perfectly in order for healthy working.
I hope that this hub has been of some help to you. Please do not hesitate to share your experiences and thoughts through the comment section below. I will try my best to answer any questions that you might have at the earliest possible.
If you wish to have a look at the first part of this Unit, please follow the link below.
In order to get a general overview of this qualification and to gain some idea of how units are chosen and how this qualification is assessed, please follow the link below:
All the best!