Sunday, April 19, 2015

Lodging a formal complaint when the council lets you down?

One of the results of the wheelie bin fiasco is that some residents have tried to use the council's complaints process to get their concerns deal with. One incident in particular led to Jon Hunt tabling the following written question...

CITY COUNCIL - 14 APRIL 2015

WRITTEN QUESTION TO THE CHAIR FOR GOVERNANCE, RESOURCES AND CUSTOMER SERVICES OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE FROM COUNCILLOR JON HUNT

"Effective Complaints Process"

Question:

It’s been instructive (and time-consuming) working with a number of residents who have tried to get resolutions of concerns through the Council’s complaints system recently.  One elderly resident rang the call centre to lodge a formal complaint about having to have wheelie bins and ended up signing a form which means he will receive no waste collection at all.  It appears that although the procedure for lodging complaints is well-documented (use the call centre); the procedure for handling them and documenting the process may be a little patchy.

Does the Chair agree with me that an effective complaints process should involve an element of independent investigation rather than simply passing the complaint to the officers involved in the individual issue and that perhaps the current inconsistent procedures would benefit from an investigation by his Committee?

Answer:

Learning from the complaints we receive as a Council is vital to driving through improvements to council services.

The Governance, Resources and Customer Services O&S Committee – renamed to make specific reference to customer services – has focused, in the last two years, on improving how the council responds to customer requests and complaints. The Executive, through Cllr Ian Ward, has come to the same conclusions as the committee, that we must do better in this area. This has been recognised through our work on the Birmingham Promise.


With regards to complaints specifically, I would suggest that the relevant scrutiny committee has a session early in new municipal year to reflect on and review the complaints process. The current complaints process does not involve independent investigation – at least not until it reaches the Ombudsman – and the benefits of this, and how this could be introduced, could be explored by the Committee.

2 comments:

deeksha said...

this governance related formal procedures and it is very much exclusive and i got to know about the federal form of government.

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