To receive the Annual Report on Complaints (20 minutes)
Consideration was given to a report of the Head of Strategy and Innovation which reported on complaints received from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. The Senior Policy Officer made some minor amendments;
· Paragraph 4.2 - ‘When a complaint is escalated to stage 2, the Chief Executive has 15 working days to respond. This standard was met in 50% of escalated complaints with 3 out of 6 complaints answered in this time frame’.
· Paragraph 6.2 – the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman outcome in rows 5 and 5 to be switched (both dated 28 August 2021)
In the year 2020/21 there were 82 service level complaints. From these 82 complaints, 6 were escalated to the Chief Executive and 7 were the subject of the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) enquiries of which 5 were investigated.
Complaints at service level have significantly decreased this year, after a small decrease last year, a slight increase in 2018/19 and a largely static previous three years. The number of complaints escalated to the Chief Executive has also decreased from 11 in 2019/20 to 6 in 2020/21. Heads of Service continue to be encouraged to escalate a complaint to the Chief Executive if required, in the interests of efficiency and the Council continues to signpost complaints to the LGSCO as recommended.
Complaints are also occasionally raised via social media channels, including Twitter and Facebook, which continue to be monitored by both CSU and the Communication Team. They respond to Twitter enquiries and monitor Facebook messages, directing complainants to the complaints process where necessary.
The consistency of complaints reporting suggests that the complaints process continues to work effectively. Where necessary, trends are identified and managed by individual Services.
A member reported that he had undertaken some analysis on the trends in the complaints data and had observed a sustained increase in the number of complaints associated with planning matters. The Senior Policy Officer said that she would investigate this. Another member suggested that the report should be an annual report on complaints and compliments. The Senior Policy Officer reported that they will look at how compliments are recorded.
That the annual report on complaints be considered and endorsed.