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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 2022 to 31 March 2023

Resource 2020/21 2021/22 2022/23
Community and Enterprise 211 322 289
Education 58 247 288
Finance and Corporate 92 137 90
Housing and Technical 145 208 162
Social Work 190 196 218
Totals 696 1110 1047

The number of complaints closed decreased by 6% between 2020/22 and 2022/23.

You Said, We Did

When you complain, we listen and act. The following examples and learning outcomes relate to complaints received between April 2022 and March 2023:

Community and Enterprise Services

Customer booked a slot at the local civic amenity site, when they arrived it was closed. The Service apologised and advised that it was a public holiday and that was why the site was closed. The booking parameters on the system have been updated to take account of public holidays. Now that public holidays have been entered into the booking parameters for booking a slot at the civic amenity site this will not happen again, improving the service.

Complaint received regarding the waste bin collection service, in particular the burgundy garden/food waste bin, not being provided for resident’s street. We apologised for the inconvenience caused and advised that we have had a reduced fleet due to difficulties we have been experiencing with delays in parts being shipped from Europe, nevertheless we have managed to maintain our collection programmes schedule. The complainants’ case has been discussed with the supervisor for the area and will be monitored in the coming weeks to ensure that the bins are collected as programmed.

Customer not happy as the information on the council website was misleading in relation to disposal arrangements for real Christmas trees. The website said the council would collect real Christmas trees placed beside the burgundy food and garden waste bin. The bin was emptied but the tree was not collected. Customer checked the website again and noted that it had been updated to say that trees should be cut down to 5-foot sections and tied together. We apologised and advised that we had realised that the information about cutting the tree to 5-foot sections was missing from the information on the web page, this was added as soon as the error was identified. We will make sure that the information uploaded on the council website is accurate.

Education Services

Parent stated that daughter was given water to drink after sustaining an injury in the playground. Parent was unhappy as daughter had to go to hospital and if she had required surgery, she would not have been able to get it due to drinking fluids. Parent asking that staff are reminded of general first aid and reminded no fluids are given until seen by a first aider. Staff have been reminded of first aid procedures to ensure this does not happen again.

Various school transport buses did not turn up at beginning of term to pick pupils up to take them to school. Apology given to parents along with explanation that due to issues with contractor and driver availability across west and central Scotland, Strathclyde Partnership were unable to secure some contracts to take pupils to and from school or the contracts were allocated last minute and had capacity issues. A long-term strategy has been put in place with our partners.

Nursery child who has a food allergy was given food that they have an allergy to. A full investigation was carried out and as a result the establishment revised their policy and put measures in place to minimise an incident of this kind happening again. Establishment to follow new measures put in place.

No staff on premises on a certain date between 9am and 10am with appropriate NHS training on relation to insulin pump and glucose monitoring. The head of the centre has contacted the diabetic nurse to request training for the remainder of staff team. The establishment will ensure rotas allow for an appropriately trained staff to be always on duty.

Finance and Corporate Services

A customer made contact to advise response not received to their enquiry in the timescales given by a member of staff. They had been advised they would be contacted by telephone within 48 hours. Upon further contact the customer was informed that they had been given incorrect response timescale. Apologised to customer and team provided with reminder on timescales for enquiry types.

Customer raised complaint following issues they had making a payment for a service using a Mastercard payment card. Customer had tried several times over a period of 3 weeks. Raised issue with merchant and worked with them to resolve the issues regarding Mastercard payments being made to SLC. Apologised to customer, explained the situation, and arranged for a call-back on a secure line for payment to be taken manually by telephone. Customers can now again use Mastercard to make a payment now that issue with merchant has been resolved.

Customer was not happy with how Council Tax arrears situation had been dealt with. Spoke to customer in detail and explained process, identified an earlier opportunity where customer could have been contacted before sending to Stirling Park for ending liability date cases. Identify earlier the opportunity to contact customer prior to sending to Stirling Park.

Customer contacted council by phone to make enquiry about lead pipes. Selected interactive voice response (IVR) option for problems with water and was advised to contact Scottish Water and call ended. Phoned back and selected different option to speak with advisor. Not happy about the phone set up, lack of information on website about lead pipes and available grants. Telephoned customer to explain IVR and reason we have it. Explained why we re-direct customers to Scottish Water and spoke to Digital to ask if information on lead pipes and available grants can be made available on website.

A complaint was received in relation to marriage notices which were sent to the civil ceremonies mailbox and an auto reply acknowledgement was issued. When the customer contacted the office in relation to the upcoming ceremony the member of staff dealing with the matter advised that the documents had not been received, as these could not be found in the mailbox or in our file and thought that there was possibly an IT issue. When further checks were conducted by a Team Leader the documents were located. Head of Service contacted the customer and apologised for the misunderstanding as emails had been located. Procedures reviewed. Staff reminded on how to conduct a search for emails on Outlook and to speak to Team Leader if any issues.

Housing and Property Services

Customer unhappy with the way her housing application is getting dealt with. Staff to be briefed on checking previous records surrounding an applicant’s circumstances to assess the most appropriate type of appointment. Senior Management Team continue to review complaints received and Reflective Learning sessions carried out.

Customer unhappy at call back not received. Customer was advised that officer would call him back, officer failed to do so. Staff reminded of customer care standards on returning calls. Complaints continue to be monitored and performance review by Management.

Customer dissatisfied that he had no response to a request for compensation for additional cost incurred because of being decanted from his property for repairs to be carried out. Firstly, we apologised to the Customer for the lack of response regarding his request, and compensation has been given. The service provided falls below the standards expected and because of these immediate changes have been implemented. Monthly stats are provided to Senior Management Team and actions monitored.

Customer unhappy on how medical appeal has been processed. Firstly, we apologised to the customer and Staff reminded of timescales and customer service standards. Monthly reports provided to Service Management Teams and continue to remind staff of timescales and customer service standards.

Social Work Services

Customer unhappy with care at home as they were not advised when there was a change to the visit times and the level of support given. Customer was contacted and an apology was given. The customers concerns have now been resolved and a review of the service was carried out. A new scheduling system has been introduced and staff can now update any changes. All care at home staff have been trained on how to use the system and arrangements are in place to notify service users of any changes to carers or visit times.

Complainant unhappy with level of communication and delay processing request. Contact was made immediately with the complainant and an apology was given. Arrangements were made for a worker to be allocated to take forward the request and to be the point of contact. Contact routes and details were provided to ensure the complainant was able to speak with someone when required. The delays have been investigated to understand why there was a delay. Good/appropriate levels of communication were discussed with the team to ensure everyone was aware of the expected standards. 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. It is expected that staff will adhere to the guidance, therefore, communication will improve.

Customer unhappy with the allocation of the carers budget following a review. The family are feeling frustrated with process and delays this is causing. An apology was given, and the allocated worker continued to work with the family to complete an Adult Carer Support Plan to ensure these needs are met. To keep the customer updated with any delays or outcomes while carrying out the review process.

Customer was unhappy with the length of time and delays in carrying out an assessment. An apology was given to the customer and the service agreed to set up a home visit to progress. The purpose of the visit was to review the support plan and to identify support or services as required for the customer. The importance of communication was highlighted to staff. Also, a reminder to keep customers informed of any updates / delays. It was also highlighted to workers the importance to ensure assessments are completed within the appropriate timescales to avoid any delays / distress to service users and their families.

page last updated: 3 October 2023