Agenda item

Agenda item


To scrutinise information (copy attached) on Services’ performance in complying with the Council’s complaints procedure.

10:30 a.m


The Statutory and Corporate Complaints Officer introduced the report and appendices (previously circulated) in the absence of the Lead Member for Developing Community Infrastructure, who had to leave the meeting early in order to attend a meeting with the Welsh Government’s Leader of the House and Chief Whip - the Minister responsible for digital infrastructure, to discuss poor Broadband coverage in parts of Denbighshire.


The report and appendices provided an overview and analysis of the complaints, compliments and suggestions received by the council under its ‘Your Voice’ Customer Feedback policy during Quarter 2 of the 2017/18 reporting year.    During the introduction the Service Improvement Manager drew the Committee’s attention to the fact that some councillors had inadvertently been utilising the ‘Your Voice’ customer feedback mechanism for reporting service enquiries/requests.  Consequently the Head of Customers, Communication and Marketing had re-issued guidelines to councillors on how to submit service requests/enquiries, stressing the importance of following the agreed procedure in order to ensure that there was a complete audit trail relating to each request/enquiry received.  If the correct procedure was followed elected members could track their request/enquiry’s progress via the EMMA system – the system which had been devised and introduced for elected members’ benefit and ease of reference.  The Service Improvement Manager confirmed that discussions were continuing with respect to the roll-out of a new Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) System.  An implementation plan was being drawn up by the Project Group, on which the Council’s Corporate Communications Team were represented.  It was anticipated that more information would be available early in the New Year on the proposed roll-out process for the new CRM system.


Members were informed by the Statutory and Corporate Complaints Officer that for the second quarter of 2017-18 reporting year the Council had attained the ‘excellence threshold’ in relation to dealing with Stage 1 and Stage 2 complaints, as all complaints had been transacted within the target timescales despite there being more complaints lodged than in the previous quarter.  It was also pleasing to report that during quarter 2 more compliments and suggestions for service improvements had been received from the public.  Examples of how complaints had been used constructively to improve services were included in the report.  Whilst it would prove nigh on impossible to maintain performance at 100% for dealing with both Stage 1 and Stage 2 complaints throughout the year officers were confident that the Council would achieve circa 98% for Quarter 3, and an annual average attainment rate of around of 98% throughout the 2017-18 year.


Appendix 1 to the report contained details of the number of Stage 1 and 2 complaints received against individual services along with the Council’s performance in dealing with them during quarter 2, as well as an analysis of its performance in dealing with complaints at both stages over a four year period. 


Appendix 2 to the report contained a proposed format for the presentation of the statistical report to the Committee in future.  Whilst there were still some issues which required to be resolved with the proposed new format, the main one relating to how graphs etc. could be produced in both English and Welsh and the information imported into the body of the report has been resolved.


Appendix 3 to the report contained the results of the independent analysis undertaken of residents and customers’ satisfaction on their interaction with the Council and accessing the required services.  The information gathered as part of this exercise was proving to be extremely valuable to Council Services to enable them to improve their services and strengthen their communication channels with residents.  The Customers, Communication and Marketing Service was currently working with the ICT Service to develop a bespoke service specific reporting mechanism that would help them improve communication with residents and service–users even further.


Responding to members’ questions the Statutory and Corporate Complaints Officer and the Service Improvement Manager advised that:

·         complaints against schools and education related complaints did not fall within the scope of the ‘Your Voice’ Corporate Complaints Procedure.  These were dealt with separately, generally by the schools themselves or by the Education Service’s Complaints Officer;

·         social services complaints had to be dealt with in accordance with statutory guidelines i.e. an acknowledgement was required within two working days and the Council had 10 working days to resolve the matter.  Whilst that was a standalone process any issues of concern that came to light as part of the corporate complaints process which could possibly constitute any violation of a vulnerable adult would be referred to the Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA) Team for investigation as a matter of urgency;

·         in their view the improvement in performance in relation to dealing with complaints could be attributed to mutual buy-in to the procedure from both members and officers, who valued its benefits for improving service delivery;

·         the 10 day target for dealing with complaints was, similar to the 10 day statutory deadline for social services complaints, the absolute maximum time it should take to deal with any complaint.  Generally, complaints were dealt with and resolved well within the 10 working day target; and

·         at present seven of the nine Customer Service Centre Advisors spoke Welsh.  This facilitated customers/residents who wished to conduct their business through the medium of Welsh at their initial point of contact to do so.  Nevertheless, this may not be the case within the services who would ultimately be responsible for resolving queries etc.

Members did raise concerns about the frustrations felt by councillors and the public alike when they left messages on answerphones and no one called them back to update them on the progress with service enquiries or to even acknowledge receipt of a request.  Officers undertook to draw this to the attention of all Services.

The Statutory and Corporate Complaints Officer undertook to enquire on the reason why the Council’s performance had dipped to 60% of Stage 2 complaints dealt with within set timescale during Quarter 3 of 2016-17.


At the conclusion of the discussion the Chair informed the Committee that the Lead Member for Developing Community Infrastructure had asked that his gratitude to the Statutory and Corporate Complaints Officer for his role in improving performance in relation to the dealing with corporate complaints under the ‘Your Voice’ procedure be noted and recorded.  The Committee then:


RESOLVED: - subject to the above observations to –


(i)   receive the report on the Council’s performance in dealing with complaints, compliments and suggestions received under the ‘Your Voice’ corporate complaints procedure during Quarter 2, 2017-18; and

(ii)  receive the data on the Customer Effort and Satisfaction results for Denbighshire County Council for the second quarter of 2017-18 and how that information had been utilised for the purpose of improving services to the Council’s customers and residents.


Supporting documents:


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