Agenda item

Annual Monitoring Report

To consider the Annual Monitoring Report presented by the Corporate Director.



56.1    The Committee consider the Annual Monitoring Report, presented by Jonathan Lund (Corporate Director). He drew to the Committee’s attention the fact that complaints related to planning had been omitted and that there had been 18 complaints over the course of the year placing it in seventh position. He further noted that a significant number of complaints had been about waste yet formed approximately 0.04% of all collections.


56.2    The Corporate Director advised that some which appeared as complaints were not as some were requests for action. He stated that this was anticipated to improve following the introduction of the new performance management system.


56.3    With regard to complaints about waste, the Corporate Director advised that Officers were in discussions with Amey about the possibility of Amey handling complaints which would assist the Council’s contact centre.


56.4    In response to a question from Councillor Morgan, the Corporate Director advised that a written answer would be provided in order to clarify what is provided by the Streetscene team and Neighbourhood Services.


56.5    Councillor Morgan asked if it was possible to compare complaints from previous years. The Corporate Director advised that complaints had not necessarily been collected consistently over previous years. Bob O’Brien (Customer Service Transformation Manager) noted that there may have been double counting previously.  He advised that his team were undertaking a review of the Council’s complaints policy including reviewing the categorisation of complaints.


56.6    Councillor Stephens shared his view that, whilst data had been provided, it did not reveal anything particularly substantive. He queried whether there were trends that were highlighted and what had service areas put in place to rectify these. He further stated that it would be helpful to receive a breakdown of complaints in the three areas which had received most complaints and any action taken.


56.7    The Customer Service Transformation Manager, in response to a query from the Chair, advised that he would provide an update on what will be done for comparison.


56.8    Whilst noting the volume of complaints in some areas, Councillor Norman asked how many contacts there had been between the public and the contact centre in order to examine the ratio of contacts to complaints. The Corporate Director confirmed that this information would be provided.


56.9    In relation to Amey handling complaints related to them, Councillor Wilson noted that the waste contract was between the Council and residents. He stated that residents may not want their details given to Amey and sought assurance that details would not be passed on. The Corporate Director advised that there would be a need to negotiate an arrangement for this possibility. The Chair queried how the Council could monitor complaints if Amey was dealing with them. The Corporate Director responded that no decision had been made and that, were this arrangement to be put in place, the contract variation would have to reflect solving these concerns.


56.10  Councillor Norman suggested that it may be preferable to have Amey deal with service requests initially so as to provide for a smoother implementation. Councillor Stephens expressed his concern with regard to the cost of a contract variation and that he wanted detail. The Corporate Director confirmed that a variation would incur additional costs but that this could be negotiated. He also advised that if an updated report to Cabinet could be accelerated, it would be.


56.11  With regards to complaints that were referred to the Ombudsman, Councillor Wilson highlighted that, in previous years, complaints were rarely upheld. The Corporate Director advised that twelve referrals was not particularly unusual but that four being upheld was. He stated that this showed the Council may have been taking too rigid an approach at the second stage of dealing with complaints.


56.12  The Chair suggested that compliments and good feedback could be recorded. The Customer Services Transformation Manager advised that this would be possible.


56.13  With regard to two complaints related to Members, the Corporate Director advised that sections of the Code of Conduct were in a variety of locations and it was intended that this would be simplified. He further advised that there would be a briefing on the Code of Conduct in the near future.


56.14  RESOLVED –


            That the Audit and Governance Committee note the Annual Monitoring Report.



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