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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 2021 to 31 March 2022

Resource 2019/20 2020/21 2021/22
Community and Enterprise 279 211 322
Education 82 58 247
Finance and Corporate 148 92 137
Housing and Technical 220 145 208
Social Work 179 190 196
Totals 908 696 1110

The number of complaints closed increased by 37% between 2020/21 and 2021/22.

You Said, We Did

When you complain, we listen and act. The following examples and learning outcomes relate to complaints received between April 2021 and March 2022:

Community and Enterprise Services

Some customers had complained that double axel trailers from residential properties were not being given access to recycle centres. Following investigation of the complaints, we have reviewed the dimensions of the vehicles or trailers allowed on the sites and have now removed the restrictions on double axel trailers; however, an overall size limit still applies. To summarise, trailers are allowed as long as the dimensions are a maximum of 1.8m x 1.2m.

A customer asked for a replacement large non-recyclable waste bin (360 litre black bin), and they had been provided with a standard 240 litre bin instead of the 360 litre one requested. The customer was unhappy that the replacement was not 'like for like'. Grounds and Waste services explained that they are encouraging everyone to recycle as much as possible because it is one of the ways the council can help tackle climate change. They explained to the customer If all the recycling bins are used fully then it is likely there is no need for the capacity of a 360 litre non-recyclable waste bin and therefore the larger non-recyclable waste bins are not provided automatically. Where the service is satisfied that the household is fully using all recycling bins that have been provided, then a larger non-recyclable bin will be provided if this is appropriate to do so. The learning taken from the complaint is to ensure there is ongoing improved communication with customers and to ensure customers understand why we make this provision.

A customer's waste bin fell into the back of the refuse vehicle when it was being emptied and the refuse collection employees made no attempt to let the customer know that this had happened. When the customer contacted the service and spoke to a member of staff explaining what happened, they said staff member did not seem concerned and advised that the bin collection staff were not obliged to make customers aware if this happens, and that they would need to wait 5-12 weeks for a new bin. We investigated the matter and confirmed that the bin had indeed fallen into the back of the collection vehicle and confirmed that a replacement bin had since been delivered. We also advised the customer that some of our vehicles have now been fitted with in cab technology which can be used to report bins falling into the vehicle and crews have been asked to drop calling cards with key information directly to the resident in question if there are any collection problems. We have introduced a system in some of our vehicles that will let us know when a bin falls in and also improved our communication by informing customers when there are any collection problems through dropping in calling cards with key information. Contact centre employees have also been briefed on the procedures to ensure customers are provided with the correct information if they are calling.

Customer receives the medical pull-out service as part of the council's waste collection service and their bins are not being returned to the place that they have been collected from causing the resident difficulties in terms of putting the bin back themselves or having to navigate past the bin when accessing their property as the bin is causing an obstruction. Apologised to the resident affected and reminded the crew of the importance of returning the bin to the place that they have collected it from. When crews remember to return the bin to the place, they have collected it from they will be delivering an improved service as required by the resident.

Education Services

School was not sending reports on children's progress to father of a child who does not reside with him. The school were advised of this and as a result the school has now updated their information and father will receive the relevant documents in future. This action will be replicated in the event it is required in future for pupils in a similar situation.

Parents complained that their child was not provided with a place on school bus although they had applied for this, and the child is entitled to the place. A new transport School Transport system was implemented across 11 Local Authorities by Strathclyde Passenger Transport (SPT). This led to some delays in the service processing the application and how the service communicated with Parents for August 2021. The School Transport team are currently working alongside staff at SPT to resolve any issues and dealing with any complaints accordingly, and within the timescales of the procedure, to ensure all pupils who are entitled to school transport are provided with this. The School Transport team are reviewing our own processes in line with the new system to improve each of our processes and have a smooth implementation of transport provision for the new term for 2022.

A parent made contact with the school in relation to their daughter’s name being changed at school as 'known as' without their consent. Apology given to the customer and staff were reminded of the correct procedure to follow in cases such as this. Awareness of this is now part of induction process for relevant new staff.

A parent stating that their child who attends an ASN base was not being challenged enough in certain subjects and requested an assessment on child's needs and abilities. A parent disappointed at not seeing appropriate teachers during parents evening. The school are issuing tasks at a higher, more personalised level. School offering tutoring for areas where child requires assistance either in school or after school. School will arrange for the teachers who were missed at parents evening to call the parent

Finance and Corporate Services

Customer was unhappy that their direct debit for council tax appeared to be cancelled. An error had been made in the setup as an incorrect procedure had been followed. Additional training has been carried out on the correct procedures with staff. It is expected that this error will not happen again in future as the procedures have been reissued and are also available online for staff to access.

A customer had phoned for an update on a report they had made. The Officer was unable to make contact with the customer to provide update as the customer’s contact information had not been recorded. Customer was unhappy about this as they had provided all their information at time of the telephone call. We apologised to customer for the error and resultant delay in responding to their report.  Training need was identified and provided with a reminder to all staff to ensure that all required customer information fields are completed at point of contact to prevent a similar occurrence of this complaint in the future. As a result of this, all required information to allow an Officer to contact customer with a progress report or a response will be recorded.

Customer raised complaint as they had booked and paid for a service which did not arrive on the agreed date. The Transactions team investigated and identified the issue. They spoke with customer to apologise and rearranged the service on a date and time that was suitable for them. As part of the complaint investigation, all staff have been reminded of the correct processes. It is expected that this error will not happen again in future as the procedures have been communicated and are also available online for staff to access.

Customer was unhappy that service they had requested was delivered out with the timescale provided at time of organising. They were also unhappy that no contact had been made to update and advise on delay. We apologised to customer and explained service had been delayed due to impact of covid on teams. Staff were briefed to advise customers that at this time the service was experiencing some minor disruptions due to staff shortages and that current timescales maybe extended. Services will return to normal once full team is available. Customers will be advised on possible impact on service delivery and any significant delay will be communicated to customers.

Customer complained that they had been advised they could apply online for a birth certificate and this would be sent via recorded delivery and in a hard backed protective envelope. Unfortunately, the Certificate arrived folded and by standard post. Staff have been reminded to be clear and correct with the information they provide to customers to avoid any future miscommunication and misunderstanding.   We expect the service to improve by making sure customers are clear on information provided and take account of customer feedback where possible. 

Housing and Property Services

A customer was unhappy as they had been requesting a form to be issued to them for 4/5 months and they still received no response. The customer has been contacted and we have apologised that no one provided the form as requested. Staff have been reminded of Customer Care Standards and answering requests within standards. We continue to monitor complaints through Service and Management reports and regular meetings of complaint groups.

A customer was unhappy with the length of time taken to complete a repair. The Repairs team apologised and advised the customer that the delay was due to waiting on part and would keep them updated on progress. We expect our service to get better by ensuring our customers are kept updated with progress when there are any delays in repairs being carried out.

Customer complained that they were unhappy with repairs in their new tenancy that were still outstanding and awaiting action. As a result of the complaint, we now have processes in place to allow us to monitor the situation between Tenancy handover in void and maintenance programme to ensure repairs are carried out promptly. As a result of this we will improve our communications to ensure customers are kept up to date with delays to any repairs, and a more accurate timescale given to help manage the customer’s expectation.

Customer unhappy with Anti-Social behaviour (ASB) issues within Sheltered Housing Complex. ASB issues investigated, and evidence was founded therefore an initial warning was issued to Tenant. Sheltered Housing Team Leaders to reinforce that any complaints regarding ASB or breaches in tenancy conditions whether to Sheltered Housing Officer or Team Leader should be emailed or passed to Housing Officer for an ASB to be logged and investigation to take place. 

Social Work Services

Customer was unhappy with level of support and communication received in relation to their care. An apology was made, and appropriate supports are now in place with the family. Good communication is important within the Resource and the corporate standards employee guidance has been re-issued to staff to highlight the importance of effective communication. The correct process was highlighted to employees to ensure correct procedures are followed.

Customer was unhappy that there was a delay in carrying out an assessment. An apology was given to the customer and the service agreed to set up a home visit to progress and review the support plan and identify support or services as required.  The importance of communication was highlighted to staff. To keep customers informed of any delays. It was also highlighted to workers the importance to ensure assessments are completed within the appropriate timescales.

The customer was unhappy as assessments they had expected to be completed had not been done within the timescales advised. This led to the family feeling frustrated.   An apology was given to the family and a meeting was arranged to discuss the issues. A plan was put in place to complete the assessments required, and frequent updates were provided to the family. The manager had a discussion with the team and reinforced the importance of highlighting areas where work may be delayed or may not meet agreed timescales. This will allow them as a team to consider how best to support workers to ensure that tasks are competed on time and keep good communication with customers.

Complainant was dissatisfied with the delays in getting the appropriate care package in place and unhappy with the level of communication provided. An apology was given to the family and a full investigation was carried out with the complainant points being responded too. The investigation found that communication was not as effective as it should have been, and the initial complaint was not answered fully. Learning points were noted, and complainant was advised of this. The learning will be shared with workers through supervision and discussed in team meetings to ensure future communication is effective and that complaint responses are addressed fully.

page last updated: 22 September 2022