Annual Complaints and Compliments report 2018-19
To consider the report.
The Head of Head of HR, Corporate Projects & ICT, introduced the 2018/19 annual complaints report prior to its publication on the RBWM website.
The Panel were informed that the period covered was April 2018 to March 2019 and that the Council was required under statute to produce a report for adults and children’s complaints, but not on complaints relating to corporative activities. However, the Royal Borough’s annual report covers all services.
The council’s complaints process was made up of various stages depending on the type of complaint, with the complainant being able to take it to the local government and social care ombudsman if they remained dissatisfied once the council’s process has been exhausted. The Panel were informed that in the last year there had been over 1600 contacts made to the Complaints team, of which 437 were progressed as complaints. Of these, 62 were for services covered by this Panel, with 7 for law and governance, 14 for communications and 41 revenues and benefits. These combined make up 14% of the total complaints progressed.
The main reasons for complaints were due to; a lack of action, attitude of staff and failure to follow time scales. It was confirmed that timeliness had improved in responding to complaints, from 51% in 17/18 to 64% in 18/19. Performance for the three corporate services in responding within timescales was higher than the council average with law and governance at 100%, communications at 71% and revenues and benefits at 88%. All three services also saw an increase year on year in timeliness in responding to complaints.
In relation to outcomes, overall the council upheld or partially upheld 67% of all complaints.
If a complainant remained dissatisfied, they could complain to the LGSCO. Of the 44 complaints and enquiries made to the LGSCO in 2018/19, six related to services within the remit of this Panel:
· 4 for law and governance; 3 of which were closed after initial investigations and 1 was not upheld
· 2 were for revenues and benefits; 1 was referred back for local resolution as it was premature and 1 was closed after initial investigations.
In terms of compliments, these had increased from 456 in 17/18 to 555 in 18/19. Of these5 were for HR and corporate projects, 1 for communications and 7 for revenues and benefits.
The Chairman queried whether this meant that people were happy with the service that they were receiving, the Panel were informed that this could be the case or that there were less contacts made directly with officers due to the report it function.
The Chairman summarised that the report was clear evidence that the Council was doing a good job and that the feedback could be used in a positive way. Councillor Hill was in agreement with the Chairman and commented that it was an excellent and useful report.
The Panel were informed that the communication of complaints process had been much improved with regular meetings being held with leadership teams. Councillor Walters noted that Highways topped the list of complaints, although Councillor Hill argued that this might be due to the way things like potholes were reported.
The Panel asked for their thanks to be passed to the complaints team for their work.
Cllr Sharpe asked if it was possible to have complaints broken down by location and was informed that the way data was collected this may not be possible but officers would look into this.
Resolved unanimously: that the Panel note the report.