Service standards

Below are our service standards which are there to complement the Customer Charter.

Service standards list 
Service Service standard
Building Control Site inspections on the same working day for requests received by 10:30am. Otherwise within 24 hours for requests after that time. Appointments by agreement. Register all applications, assess the charges and acknowledge their receipt within 3 working days. Check your application within 5 weeks of receipt (or 8 weeks when an extension of time is agreed). Provide you with a completion certificate within 5 working days of satisfactory completion. Acknowledge any complaint within 3 working days of it being received. Provide you with a response to your complaint within 10 working days. If this is not possible, we will let you know why and arrange another deadline. Respond to all reported dangerous structures within 24 hours. Issue demolition counter notices within 10 working days on receipt of notification of intended demolition.
Car parking We will respond to customer queries/complaints within 10 working days. Our Contractors, Eden Parking Services, will deal with Penalty Charge Notice Stage One appeals within 14 working days.
Cemeteries Give permission to erect a memorial or cut inscriptions within 10 working days. This is following submission of the correct information. Annual inspection of all the memorials in the Penrith, Appleby, Alston, Garrigill and Nenthead cemeteries and Closed Churchyards.
Council meetings

Publish agendas and reports for all Council meetings 5 clear days before the meeting. This is excluding any urgent items. 'Clear days' exclude:

  • the day the agenda is published;
  • the day of the meeting;
  • Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays.
Council Performance Quarterly performance reports will be published on the internet.
Customer Contact Centre Answer telephone calls to the main switchboard on 817817 within 15 seconds. Minimise the abandoned call rate to 817817. Respond to visitors to our reception desk within 5 minutes. Achieve good or excellent levels of overall customer satisfaction in customer surveys. Respond to all correspondence within 10 working days. Respond to emails within 2 working days.
Development Control Determine whether applications are valid within 3 working days from the date of receipt. Place details of all planning and associated applications on our website within 5 working days following registration. Process large and small-scale major applications within 13 weeks. Process minor applications within 8 weeks. Process other applications within 8 weeks. Respond to general enquiries not requiring research, including general advice, within 10 working days. Respond to permitted development enquiries for householder development within 20 working days. Respond to requests for the discharge of planning conditions within 8 weeks. Respond to reports of a breach of planning control within 25 working days.
Disabled Facilities Grant On receipt of a referral, send an acknowledgement letter to the client and inform the Home Improvement Agency caseworker within two working days. Application forms are sent to finance within two working days of receipt. On return of the financial assessment, send to the Home Improvement Agency within two working days. Our Housing Officer will agree plans and schedule return documents within 25 working days. On receipt of application for approval, obtain decision and send approval certificate within four working days. We are continually striving to shorten the waiting times for Disabled Facilities Grants, whilst complying with the necessary legislation. At present we are achieving averages of 12 to 16 weeks from referral to approval.
Economic Development and Tourism Respond to visitors' complaints within 3 working days. Respond to requests for business advice from tourism operators within 5 working days. Service guide requests within 48 hours. Achieve 70%+ satisfaction levels on Mystery Shopper surveys. Respond to all correspondence within 5 working days. Respond to emails within 5 working days. Respond to Evolutive enquiries within 2 working days.
Elections and Electoral Registration

Publish a revised electoral register every year on or before 1 December. Process electoral registration applications and publish monthly updates to the Register of Electors (except between October and December). This is in accordance with statutory deadlines. Send poll cards to all electors between 3 weeks and 2 weeks before the day of any:

  • Parliamentary;
  • European Parliamentary;
  • County Council;
  • District Council and (where requested by the Parish or Town);
  • Parish and Town Council elections.

Dispatch ballot papers by first class post between 2 weeks and 1 week before the day of poll. Dispatch an application form for service voters, overseas electors and European Citizens' applications within 3 working days of application. Dispatch application forms for Postal and Proxy facilities within 3 working days of an application.

Finance Council Tax will be set by the end of February each year. Monitor the number of payroll errors during the year and record that 100% of payments are made on the correct date. This includes HMRC.
Food Hygiene Provide an immediate record of inspection and confer any legal requirements and recommendations in writing within 10 working days. This is unless agreed otherwise. Respond to requests for advice and information about food safety within 3 working days. Respond to complaints of poor hygiene and unsatisfactory food within 3 working days. When dealing with food complaints, update the complainant at least every 20 working days.
Food Poisoning and Infectious Diseases Respond to reports of any notifiable infection where the risk to the public health is immediate and significant. This includes outbreaks, ideally within the same working day, but always within 48 hours. Respond to reports of less serious notifiable infections within 3 working days.
Footway Lighting Attend reported defects within 10 working days, unless a new supply is required.
Health and Safety Enforcement Respond to complaints of poor health and safety within 3 working days. Respond to notified accidents within 3 working days. Confirm the intended course of action. Respond to requests for advice and information about health and safety within 3 working days. Respond to notification of a major accident and/or fatality ideally immediately, if this is not possible, within 48 hours.
Housing - General Acknowledge Homelessness Appeals and Housing reviews within 3 working days. Inform the applicant of the decision within the statutory time of 56 days. Acknowledge customers letters within 3 days. Reply in full within 31 days. Reply to electronic communications within 3 working days.
Human Resources Application forms and relevant information packs to be sent within 1 working day of request. Acknowledgement of application issued within 2 working days of receipt of application. Candidates informed of interview dates with or before acknowledgement of application (included in recruitment advert). Letter of appointment to be sent within 2 working days of verbal offer and acceptance.
Legal Services - Legal Respond to all correspondence (including emails) within 10 working days.
Legal Services - Data Protection Supply information within 40 working days of a request.

Provide leisure services and opportunities to participate in sport and recreational activity every day. This is except for:

  • Christmas Day;
  • Boxing Day;
  • New Year’s Day; and 
  • 1 week in June for Appleby Pool during Appleby Horse Fair week.

Provide free swimming to persons aged under 16 and over 60. In swimming pools, we will ensure a good standard of water quality is maintained in line with industry guidelines. We will ensure that pools are heated and ventilated to industry standards. Provide and maintain playing pitches and changing facilities at the Frenchfield Sports Centre. This is for the benefit of local sports clubs and community activity. Provide opportunities for young people to participate in sports and active recreation activity through provision of suitable programmes in school holiday periods. We will seek to provide an efficient and environmentally friendly service at all times. Leisure Centre staff will be properly trained and suitably qualified. We will ensure the centres are clean, safe and well maintained with all equipment being kept in good working order. Provide a balanced programme of activities and services that aims to cater for the needs of all sections of the community. Publish up-to-date and accurate customer information for all activities. Undertake regular surveys of our customers to ensure that we continue to meet their stated priorities. The times and availability of services will be published in our customer information leaflets.

Licensing Issue and dispatch license/permit application forms within 3 working days of request. Issue licences within 10 working days of determination. Respond to requests for advice and information about licensing matters within 3 working days. Respond to complaints about licensable activities within 3 working days.
Museums Provide temporary exhibitions relative to the local history of Penrith and Eden district. Provide a curation, advice and information service for artefacts within the Museum’s collection. Provide advice for any artefacts in the possession of the public that are brought into the Museum. Provide an educational and life-long learning resource to the community. Support the activities of The Friends of Penrith and Eden Museum.
Open Spaces The majority of amenity grass is cut 13 times per year (once every two weeks). Make a weekly inspection of play area equipment and other special features.
Planning - Dangerous Structures/Buildings Provide a 24 hour call-out service. Deal with all notifications received concerning demolitions within ten days.
Planning - General

Ensure that all staff are helpful, well informed and properly trained. Have a duty officer, making advice available every working day between 8.45am and 17.15pm Monday to Thursday and 8.45am and 16.45am on Friday.

Ensure that up-to-date information on the Service, and current applications for planning approval, are made available for inspection.

Ensure that enquirers can contact an Officer responsible for their area during office hours over the telephone. Officers will respond to left messages within 24 hours (or the following Monday).

Ensure all letters are responded to within 10 working days of receipt.

Planning - Pre-application Discussions Actively promote pre-application discussions. Provide a free pre-application consultation service for Planning and Building Control.
Planning - Processing Building Regulations Applications

Provide an answerphone service for site inspection requests outside office hours.

Provide a same day inspection service for requests received before 10.30am, or within the statutory time period where this is not possible.

Inspect all key elements of work and adapt our inspection service to meet developers' needs.

Provide advice where contraventions are found. Issue a completion certificate on request when works are satisfactorily completed.

Planning - Processing Planning Applications Acknowledge in writing the receipt of all applications within 3 working days. Advise in writing if an application is incomplete or invalid within 5 working days. Make available our publicity policy. Persons advised of a planning application will be given 21 days to comment. If significant changes are made to the application, neighbours will be contacted again and given a further 14 days to comment. Acknowledge any written representations made on proposals within 3 working days. Subsequently advise those who have made such representations of the eventual decision within 10 working days of it being issued. Place copies of valid applications in the statutory register within 3 working days of receipt. Ensure that sites of planning proposals are visited by the Case Officer within 2 weeks of the receipt of the valid application. Provide the opportunity for making a Committee presentation to any person objecting in writing to a planning application within the time period given. Determine at least 80% of all planning applications within 8 weeks. Forward decision notices on determined applications within 3 working days. Notify applicants in writing where it is not possible to give a decision within 8 weeks of receipt. Notify the outcome to those making representations. Comply with the timetables set down by Central Government concerning appeals and Integrated Enforcement. Act pro-actively to reduce the likelihood of breaches occurring. Approach and address alleged breaches of control with an open mind. Make available the adopted Enforcement Policy. Acknowledge all complaints within 3 working days. Inspect alleged breaches of control within 15 working days. Notify complainants of the decision to authorise formal enforcement action within 10 working days.
Planning Policy Provide written responses to the public within 14 days. Provide written responses to external agencies and development control within 28 days. Produce a Local Development Framework within the timescales set out in the Local Development Scheme.
Private Landlords Respond to all service requests within 3 working days. Carry out HMO licensing procedures within statutory timescales. Confirm in writing the action we intend to take in investigating housing complaints and explain why. Investigate all housing matters in accordance with the Private Sector Housing Enforcement Policy.
Public Toilets The busier toilets are cleaned twice per day. The less busy toilets cleaned once per day.
Revenues and Benefits
  • Staff will always give their name when answering the telephone.
  • Staff will attempt to resolve queries at the first point of contact. They will ring back within an agreed timescale if the query is more complicated.
  • Staff will contact customers who leave a voicemail message on the same day. This is if the message is left before 4pm.
  • Any discussions will take place in a private interview room. We will arrange an appointment for another time or date if the private interview rooms are too busy.
  • Respond to letters and emails within 10 working days.
  • Process Housing and Council Tax reduction applications within 14 days of receiving all the necessary information.
  • Give at least 14 days' notice of any changes to Council Tax or Business Rates instalments.

How you can help us:

  • Treat our staff with the same respect you expect from us.
  • Let us know if you have any special requirements so that we can provide the right help in the right way.
  • Tell us when you think we have done well, or not so well.
  • Provide any information we need from you as quickly as possible.
  • Have any relevant documents to hand when you call or visit.
  • Keep appointments, or let us know if you can't keep them. Be considerate to other customers in our waiting areas.
Street Cleaning Penrith, Appleby and Alston Zone 1 areas to be cleaned daily. This includes the emptying of litter bins. Outskirts of towns and rural litter bins will be emptied weekly. Village roads are swept as a schedule, bi-monthly or six monthly.
Waste Service Household sacks that are set out on time and have been missed will be collected within 24 hours. Fly tipped material adjacent to the highway or on District Council owned land will be removed within 5 working days of being reported. This is unless it is special waste, then as soon as practical within 10 working days. Dead Animals (non-domestic and not farm stock) removed from highway verges/footways within 2 working days. Removal of abandoned vehicles that we are legally allowed to remove following an investigation and at the end of the Notice Period, to be within 3 working days, unless it has a valid reason to be left.
Last updated: Monday, 9 May, 2022.