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Comments, compliments and complaints procedure

Complaints performance

The current complaints handling procedure was introduced by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) and all Scottish Councils are now required to handle and report complaints in the same way and to publish the outcomes of complaints, trends and actions taken.

Complaints closed from 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2018

Annual total of complaints closed
Resource 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18
Community and Enterprise


256 209
Education 87 122 185
Finance and Corporate 62 86 213
Housing and Technical 961 388 249
Social Work 221 235 192
Totals 1636 1087 1048

The number of complaints closed reduced by 34% between 2015/16 and 2016/17, and reduced further 4% between 2016/17 and 2017/18.

You Said, We Did

When you complain, we listen and act. 

Below are some examples of how we do this, and how comments and complaints help us improve the services we provide.

Community and Enterprise Resources

A resident received the council’s neighbour notification letter in relation to a nearby planning application. The resident was in contact with the Planning service regarding the application as they wished to make a representation (objection) to it. One of the points raised related to the failure of officers to let the resident know that they, or their neighbours, could seek independent planning advice from Planning Aid Scotland. If they did this they may have had a better understanding of the Planning application process and the proposals in question. Following on from this, the Planning Service considered the matter and as a result has made a change to the wording in the neighbour notification letter that is sent to properties adjoining the application site. This now includes a reference to the service available from Planning Aid Scotland (PAS) and details of how they can be contacted. In addition, it is recognised that in some cases that customers will become aware of a Planning application through an advertisement in the local press or by visiting the council’s Planning Portal. As a result the front page of the Portal has been updated to include a link to the Planning page on the council’s website which describes what are material planning matters in determining an application, and what are not.  As well as a reference to the service provided by PAS.

Complaint was received regarding the attitude and knowledge of one of the Council’s parking attendants.  The customer had forgotten to transfer their blue badge from one vehicle to another.  The parking attendant had been unpleasant and stated that they couldn’t use their badge in another vehicle.  Complainant tried to explain that the badge is for them and not their car but stated that the parking attendant was unprepared to listen.  All employees of the Council require to act in a courteous, helpful and professional manner at all times.  The information provided by the Parking Attendant in relation to the use of the blue badge was incorrect and all Parking Attendants have been reminded that blue badges are issued to a person and are transferable between vehicles as long as the person to whom the badge was issued is either the driver or passenger of the vehicle.  An apology was given to the customer for the poor service they had experienced.  As a result of the training and advice provided to the parking attendants no other blue badge holder should experience this.

Education Resources

Complaints were received in relation to the service provided by employees who were escorting pupils to Additional Support Needs Bases.  To address this, training was provided to those providing the escort service to ensure the service improves in the future.

Finance and Corporate Resources

A customer reported a lack of privacy when attending Council HQ to register a death. They were left sitting in main reception area while paperwork was checked.  A problem with the death certificate had to be discussed standing in the main reception area.  There was no complaint about the employee who dealt with them, quite simply the process.  In this case an apology and explanation was given.  Employees have been reminded to take customers into a private interview room when explaining the registration process.

A customer called in relation to the return of an alert alarm and was unhappy at being transferred between different departments in relation to their enquiry.  The service wrote to the customer to advise them that following the complaint, more efficient channels of communication had been introduced between departments and a review of the process had taken place to tighten up and improve the procedure for this particular enquiry.  This will improve the Service for the customer and improve communications between internal departments.

A customer arrived to uplift copy marriage certificates to find office closed on Saturday 18 March – customer has not been made aware of office closure. An apology was given, procedures reviewed and staff reminded of procedures. Team briefings emphasise need for better communication between staff and customers. Appointments will now be logged on a booking system together with customer contact details and if a similar situation should arise then customer can be contacted in advance.

Housing and Technical Resources

A customer was unhappy that our employee had failed to respond to their enquiry within an agreed timescale.  In this case, senior employees emphasised to employees that they need to respond to customers within agreed timescales.  We continue to monitor complaints through service and management reports and regular meetings of complaint groups.

A service user was unhappy that they were not advised when their repair would be carried out. Housing and Technical Resources investigated the areas of concerns raised. They identified that there was an issue with communication regarding when the repair would be carried out and apologised to the customer. The resource has reminded staff of the procedure of advising customers of when their repair will be carried out.

A customer complained that they had signed for a new lock up and had been unable to get access. An apology was given, and robust procedures put in place to ensure lock ups are inspected, emptied and in working order prior to allocation. We will continue to monitor complaints through service/management reports and regular meetings of complaints group.

Social Work Resources

A customer was unhappy with the delay in completing an assessment.  In this case the team apologised to the customer for the delay and explained the process involved.  In addition, employees were reminded of the appropriate timescales.  As a result, employees are fully aware of the appropriate timescales, therefore assessments will be carried out in time.

A service user was unhappy with the level of communication and support given relating to their case. Social Work investigated the areas of concerns raised. They identified that there was an issue with communication channels and apologised to the customer for the unsatisfactory level of communication. It was agreed that development work would be carried out with staff. Improved communication with customers will ultimately lead to a higher quality and more efficient service being provided.