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ESFA communications are more streamlined as a single body and continue to improve

Customer communications survey findings and next steps

In 2018, we ran a customer communications survey to gain feedback as part of our constant drive for improving our communications.

We would like to thank all those who responded to the survey; the feedback gave us a good insight into how our customers communicate with the agency and find out about issues pertinent to them. This has helped us consider how we could improve our communications.

Overall, the survey showed that customers believe communications from us feel clearer as a single funding body and that overall, our communications continue to improve.

However, there are still some areas for improvement.

Making Update concise and relevant

Our weekly E bulletin, ESFA Update, is rated the most favourable channel, with most respondents stating that they receive the communication and that it is of good quality. However, there was a consensus that articles need to be more targeted and relevant to user needs, as well as including more timely content with earlier notification of up and coming deadlines to aid with customer planning.

We plan to introduce a new email system, which will allow for targeted communications with user groups, aided by design features that will make articles easier to read and actions clearly identifiable.

Improvements to GOV.UK

A large majority of customers stated that they use our GOV.UK channel and rated its effectiveness as excellent, very good or good.

Over the past six months, we have begun to improve navigation and accessibility and begun to archive out of date content.

We continue to explore how we improve our content on GOV.UK so that information brought to you is more concise, easy to find and targeted so that it suits users’ needs.

We are reviewing our customer service offer so that customers have a single point of entry to raise queries and will receive a more timely response.

Social media and expanding our video content

The survey found that whilst our social media channels have a large following, they were least popular of all our channels for finding out information. Most who said they ‘do’ follow us, mentioned that our Twitter and LinkedIn channels help them in their role.

As part of our continuous improvement plans we will review our social media strategy and use the feedback to make improvements, ensuring our channels are publicised, engaging, and with content relevant to our customers.

We recognise that we need to use video more effectively. We will start to publish short guidance videos to support funding methodologies and documentation. Our customers will also get the opportunity to hear more from our senior leaders, such as a recent video from Eileen Milner.

Next steps

The survey has given us a useful insight to help us with our future improvements. We will continue dialogue to ensure future changes meet and improve users’ needs. This includes liaising and testing our communications with over 130 respondents who said they would like to help us with this work.

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