Your Councillors


Agenda item

Annual Complaints Report 2019/20

Minutes:

The Equalities and Corporate Policy Officer introduced this report providing an overview of (a) how the Council had performed in responding to complaints in 2019/20 and (b) the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s (LGSCO) Annual Review Letter 2019/20.  The Equalities and Corporate Policy Officer advised the Committee that:

 

·  The Council received 720 stage 1 complaints in 2019/20 compared to 568 in 2018/19, an increase of 26.8%.  Of the 720 stage 1 complaints received in 2019/20, 110 were escalated to the second stage of the Council’s complaints process.  This was an escalation rate of 15.3% compared to 19.2% in 2018/19.

 

·  The report also described a new assessment undertaken as part of the Council’s complaints process as a means of documenting the enquiries made prior to a complaint being taken forward for a stage 2 investigation in line with the LGSCO guidance.  The assessment stage helped to transparently identify whether a stage 2 investigation could add anything of value to the original stage 1 investigation and response and helped prevent complaints being investigated at stage 2 that could not provide any further remedy or outcome.  The process also encouraged positive engagement with the complainant and better managed expectations in terms of outcome.

 

·  The LGSCO had reviewed 49 complaints and made decisions on 43 complaints in 2019/20.  7 complaints had been upheld in 2019/20 compared to 3 in 2018/19.  All recommendations made by the LGSCO had been complied with by the Council.

 

·  The Council received 47 written compliments during 2019/20.

 

·  The Policy and Information team would be reviewing some areas to impact positively on performance.  Areas of focus would include those services with complaints upheld at stage 2 and those with an increased number of complaints referred to the LGSCO.

 

In response to questions, the Equalities and Corporate Policy Officer advised the Committee that:

 

·  64% of the complaints investigated by the LGSCO were upheld compared to an average of 45% in similar authorities.  The review of performance would look in detail at those complaints and the service areas.

 

·  The Council had a two stage complaints process.  The purpose of the assessment referred to in the report was to document and help determine whether a stage 2 investigation could add value to the stage 1 complaint response in terms of outcome for the complainant.  The third stage of the complaints process was to contact the LGSCO as set out in the Council’s Complaints Policy.  This was the recognised standard.  The report would be amended in future to avoid ambiguity about the stages of the complaints process.  A copy of the Council’s Complaints Policy would be circulated to all Members of the Committee for information.

 

·  This was an annual report and Appendix 1 showing the number of stage 1 complaints by service and the number of those complaints responded to late could be amended in future to show a year-by-year comparison.

 

·  41% of the stage 1 complaints in 2019/20 related to waste and the situation was being kept under review by the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee through the regular performance monitoring reports.  The Policy and Information team was working closely with the Waste Management team to ensure that action being taken to address operational problems is communicated to customers.

 

During the discussion, it was suggested that clarification was required going forward as to how it was decided whether a customer contact was a complaint or, for example, an enquiry.

 

RESOLVED:  That the Council’s performance on complaint management in 2019/20 and the information contained in the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s Annual Review Letter 2019/20 be noted.

 

 

 

 

Supporting documents: