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Public Performance Reports

Consultation and engagement

The Council Plan Connect, outlines our objectives for 2012-17.  Connect ambitions and objectives should not be seen in isolation, they interact with each other and as we achieve success in one, we move closer to success in others.  In delivering our vision to ‘improve the quality of life of everyone in South Lanarkshire’ our ambitions show how our work links with our partners including our Community Planning Partners. 

Each year we produce an Annual Performance Report which details how we have performed in achieving our Connect objectives. To complement the Annual Performance Report we have created a suite of individual Public Performance Reports.  This report outlines the performance in relation to consultation and engagement and how this links to the outcomes of our ambition to ‘Achieve results through leadership, good governance and organisational effectiveness’.

Consultation and engagement

The council is committed to “working together to improve the quality of life of everyone in South Lanarkshire” by tackling the ongoing disadvantages which exist in our communities and in ensuring fairness for all.  Our report “South Lanarkshire working for you” outlines our commitment to equality for all; what we plan to do; and what we have done so far.  Our outcomes are focused on the following key principles:

As part of the council’s commitment to making sure that our policies and services meet the needs of our communities, we conduct consultation and engagement events regularly to ensure people are given a chance to have your say on what we do.

In 2015-16, 317 consultations took place across all council services.  These were conducted using a variety of methods including online, paper and face-to-face formats.  The subjects ranged from Community Safety, to recycling and the council budget proposals.  Groups including the Citizen’s Panel, Seniors Together in South Lanarkshire and the Youth Council were involved in providing their views on the wide range of topics.  The work also includes regular customer feedback for the purposes of Customer Service Excellence as well as internal consultation with our employees for Investors in People.  In addition to this, services engage with customers and residents in a variety of ways; focus groups; customer experience mapping, through residents groups and the Citizen's Panel.

We have a large and diverse workforce, committed to customer-centred service delivery.  To help us to achieve this we encourage well-being by providing all employees with a safe and healthy working environment where all are treated with dignity and respect.  We believe that our 14,000 employees are our biggest asset. The council’s conditions of service enable employees to balance family and work life and we have achieved and maintained the Healthy Working Lives Gold Award since 2009. We also achieved the Healthy Working Lives Mental Health Commendation Award in 2013.  As a recognised Investor in People (IiP), and achieving the gold award in 2014-15, the council places considerable emphasis on the performance and development of our employees too.  For further information, follow the links to:
Working for the Council
Investors in people

What we have done:

Issue/Action Accessibility of council information – Work will continue on making information accessible to all and this will be influenced by work about to start developing the council’s first British Sign Language Plan.
Result We plan to:
  • work with local communities and partners to develop a plan that will improve awareness and understanding of individual’s communication needs; and
  • introduce, where possible, improved communication technology to enable better service delivery and fair access to services.


Issue/Action Awareness of accessibility to local communities for those with dementia and those with disabilities.

Through Seniors Together in South Lanarkshire and the South Lanarkshire Access Panel (SLAP), work is being undertaken to develop dementia friendly communities and to improve the availability of changing places and toilets. This is to enable people to participate more in their communities and to be able to undertake day-to-day activities that many take for granted.


Issue/Action Worked closely with the South Lanarkshire Access Panel (SLAP) to ensure that all those who live, work and visit South Lanarkshire are able to access services and facilities that the area has to offer in a way that best meets their needs.

Ensures architects, designers and planners consider their duties under the Equality Act at the earliest possible stage of a project and clearly set out how they have developed and included access for all in their design.  The Panel reviews plans, makes site visits of new and refurbished buildings, both in the public and private sectors, and provides advice on access issues.   A recent project they were involved with was the sheltered housing programme in Cambuslang and Rutherglen.  More information can be found at SLAPs website.


Issue/Action We continue to use a variety of options to engage with the community and work is continuing to refresh our Citizens’ Panel to allow us to reach people who live in all parts of our community

Community groups are able to feed into the service and policies of the council.  Activities have included consultations on a variety of topics including how people rate the wide range of services and facilities provided by the council, to the quality of homecare services.
Community groups also have an opportunity to engage through regular meetings and forums.  The groups include South Lanarkshire Access Panel (SLAP), South Lanarkshire Disability Partnership, Tenants groups, Youth Council, Employee Network, and Lanarkshire Ethnic Minority Action Group.


Issue/Action We have also worked in partnership with Police Scotland to raise awareness of the third party reporting process for hate crimes.

This has involved training over 200 employees across leisure facilities, libraries and council Q and A offices.  We have also delivered a session to Lanarkshire Ethnic Minority Action Group to enable their members to support individuals as and when appropriate.  Since introducing the training and publicising our third party reporting sites there has been uptake of the process which is enabling the council to work with Police Scotland to make our communities safer.

Equal Opportunities

We aim to ensure fairness is a priority for all of the work of the council. The Mainstreaming Equalities Report 2013-2017 and the subsequent progress report published in April 2015, set out how this is being achieved and helps to meet our legal equality duties of eliminating discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

Employee feedback

In the 2014 employee survey, there was an increase of 3% in the return rate, with 39.2% of staff taking part. The survey showed that 84% of people were satisfied in their roles and that 89% of people were clear on the aims and objectives of the council.

The survey also looked at what we do to support our employees through a range of policies and our employee assistance programme.  Our employee survey of 2014 showed that 98% of employees were aware of the absence policy; and 94% of employees felt that there were appropriate measures in place to keep them safe at work.  See the results of our employee survey.

The employee survey was conducted again in 2016 and the results will be available soon.


In 2015-16, 317 surveys were conducted and this generated 32,167 responses. This can be broken down over the council’s Resources as follows:

Resource Number of surveys Responses received
Community and Enterprise 57 8,099
Education 101 10,118
Finance and Corporate          (Note 1) 40 5,253
Housing and Technical 26 2,761
Social Work 83 4,641
South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture 10 1,295
Total 317 32,167

(Note 1: Some surveys include many services within the council and are co-ordinated centrally through Finance and Corporate Resources, hence the high result)

Many surveys are conducted outwith the council website, using other methods and types of technology:

  • ipad kiosks: shoppers or visitors are encouraged to complete a short survey on a tablet, set up in the shop/centre for the day
  • video diaries: units are again set up for the day and people are encouraged to record their comments
  • Optionfinder: at events, participants can vote anonymously from a range of options, using a hand-held key pad

We maintain a database on the council website which lists our past and present consultations.  View our past and present consultations.

Here are some examples of consultations in 2015-16:

Activity/Action School Transport Consultation 2015.  On 19 February 2015 the council set its budget for 2015-16 at £677 million. Taking account of the financial constraints the council faces, it also passed a £17.6 million savings package. Education Resources accounts for 45% of the council’s budget however due to education being viewed as a priority it contributed only 13% towards the savings package. Included within the savings package was the proposal to increase the qualification for entitlement to free mainstream school transport for secondary pupils from more than two miles to more than three miles from school. This is in line with legislation. 
The council’s criteria for evaluating safe walking routes, with the child being accompanied by a responsible adult, will remain using the West of Scotland Road Safety Guidelines.
Result The proposal: to increase the qualification of entitlement to free secondary school mainstream transport to pupils residing more than three miles from their school.  Most respondents disagreed with the proposals to increase the qualification distance, so this did not go ahead.


Activity/Action Rent Setting 2015.  A number of events staged between October and December 2014. Meetings of the local housing forums where tenants can find out about the council’s housing budget, the rent setting process and give their views on the key areas to be considered in setting the rent level for 2016-17. A Scrutiny Panel session with council officers to consider key budgetary information. To conclude the consultation there was a Question time event in the Banqueting Hall in December 2015. The council has a statutory duty to consult on the annual level of council house rent increase.  
Result The council approved a rent increase of 3%


Activity/Action Anti-social Behaviour Strategy Update 2015-17. Consulting a wide range of partners, key stakeholders and interested parties on the draft Anti-social Behaviour Strategy 2015-17. Anti-social Behaviour is one of the themes within the Community Safety Strategy and can impact on all residents in South Lanarkshire. The current Community Safety Strategy will be due for review in 2017 and will be required to include Anti-social Behaviour.  Our aim is to gather a wide range of views to inform the final Anti-social Behaviour Strategy 2015-17.
Result Comments received during the Consultation fed directly into the final anti-social behaviour strategy document. 

Customer services

Our Customer Services Centre deals with all frontline telephone enquiries, including housing repairs, bulk uplifts and roads and lighting enquiries as well as Out of Hours Emergency enquiries.  We deal with approximately 50,500 telephone, email and online enquiries per month.
More information and contact details are available on the customer services pages on our website.


The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman’s (SPSO) new complaints handling procedure was introduced 1 April 2013.  This changed the way we handle complaints. 

The new procedure aims to ensure that all complaints are handled in as simple, effective and consistent a way as possible.  To achieve this every local authority in Scotland now uses a two stage process as follows:  

  • Stage 1. We aim to resolve complaints within 5 working days at the first point of contact, where possible.  At this stage, if the complaint is complex and requires a full investigation, we may agree with the complainant to take it direct to Stage 2. 
  • Stage 2. The complaint will be investigated further and resolved within 20 working days.  At this stage a senior manager will look at the complaint and respond.

For more information, see our page and short video on the complaints process and the stages.

When complaints are received, we try to turn them around to identify changes or improvements to services or procedures.

Learning outcomes from complaints can be viewed on the You said, We did page.

Total number of complaints received 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 Are we improving?
Our performance 3,207 2,330 1,820 1,198 Yes

Overall, since 2012-13, there has been a 63% decrease in the number of complaints received which shows that we are improving the services we deliver to you. There are several factors affecting the reduction in complaints, including:

  • various initiatives to improve the way services are delivered to customers to ensure we are more responsive to customers’ needs.  The South Lanarkshire Household Survey 2014 showed that 84% of those who responded were satisfied with council services;
  • continued implementation of the SPSO complaints handling procedure and development of staff support; staff training (employees and managers) including the roll out of the guidance remains a key element of the progress towards improved performance; and
  • the publication of customer guides, feedback cards and posters with Have your say branding to raise awareness of the procedure.

National performance indicators have been identified to allow comparisons across all Scottish councils and encourage the sharing of best practice.

Scottish Public Sector Ombudsman’s Performance Indicators

Our full set of performance results can be found in the Executive Committee report Council Complaints Report: Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Overview 2015-16. (This information excludes complaints relating to Social Work Resources as they currently have a different statutory complaints procedure.)

Percentage of complaints at each stage which were closed in full, within the set timescales for 2014-15.  Targets – 5 days at stage 1; and 20 days at stage 2
What this means This indicator identifies the percentage of complaints closed within the target timescales.
Why this matters Monitoring of complaints ensures the council keeps track of timescales to ensure SPSO guidelines are adhered to.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator % Stage 1 within 5 days % Stage 2 within 20 days Are we improving?
SLC 83.0% 81.0% Yes
Scotland* 80.8% 84.5%
How we have performed in improving this public service At Stage 1, 83% of all complaints were closed within the target response time of 5 working days.  81% of Stage 2 complaints were within the target of 20 working days.  Further analysis of results will be possible when we have results for more years and national comparisons.

 *national figures are not an absolute comparator as not all 32 councils submitted figures for 2015-16.

There are indicators that also look at how the council has learned from complaint and customer satisfaction.

Customer satisfaction - statement to report customer satisfaction with the complaints service provided
A complaints handling customer feedback survey was conducted and the results can be accessed in the following committee report Complaints report 2015-16, section 6 and appendix 2.


Learning from complaints - statement outlining changes or improvements to services or procedures as a result of the consideration of complaints
Learning outcomes from complaints can be viewed on the You said, We did page.

Here are some examples of complaints and what we did:

Complaint Additional Support Needs.   Complaints were received from parents of a child with additional support needs (ASN) who started in a mainstream class where there had been no other children with similar needs.  The child’s parents expressed concern over whether the class teacher could deal with the specific needs identified.

What we did

Following the complaints the school identified appropriate training to ensure the child was able to be properly included in the classroom setting and to develop the understanding of staff of the child’s individual needs.

How we expect our service to get better

As a result the classroom teacher has a better understanding of ASN/inclusion in a mainstream environment enabling them to cope with any issues which may arise and also enabling them to better work with the parents should this be required.  The learning will enable the child to be part of the class and school community in a way that best supports their individual needs.


Complaint Public Entertainment Licence.  Our customers told us that they were not aware of upcoming Events in their area which require Public Entertainment licences.
Action What we did
We told them that they could be included in an “opt in” list.  This would mean that when a public entertainment application was received, the customer would receive a letter or email notifying them of the proposed event.   
How we expect our service to get better
This arrangement will highlight events to our customers and keep them better informed.


Complaint Universal Connections – Youth Centre.   A customer had called, on a number of occasions, the local Universal Connections Youth Centre to find out more information about a trip for their child. The phone was answered by a young person attending the centre and after they had asked a few questions the phone was hung up.

What we did
We provided an explanation to the customer that young people attending the facility were being supported to develop their confidence and self esteem as part of their volunteering activities and that this involved handling customer enquiries. We apologised and acknowledged that the customer’s experience had not been up to the standards expected and provided details of how staff are being trained to better support young people when undertaking such activities.

How we expect our service to get better
As a result of the action taken, we expect to see a reduction in the number of complaints of a similar nature and to improve outcomes for young people who are undertaking volunteering by developing their communication and customer service skills.

Areas for improvement and action

We will take forward the following key areas for improvement:

  • The consultation database continues to be updated with the broad range of activities being facilitated across the council. Work continues to ensure that customers can find and access information regarding ongoing and upcoming consultations.

Further information

Resource Plans are prepared each year by all council Resources to outline the key developments they intend to take forward in the year. Performance and actions relating to Consultation and engagement can be found in the following Resource Plans:

Twice a year, performance reports are presented to council committees on progress against the Resource Plans. In addition, reports detailing progress against the Council Plan Connect Objectives are prepared - see Quarter 2 and Quarter 4 progress reports.   

More information on council objectives can be found in the Council Plan Connect  and also the Annual Performance Report.

The information contained within this report reflects the position based on the data available at the time of publication (March 2017).