The committee considered the chief executive’s report, which reviewed complaints received during 2011/12. By analysing the complaints, the committee could identify any trends and suggest any service improvements.
The report contained a summary of the number of complaints received and analysed them by service area. The detail behind these was not included. The chairman asked the officers to consider a more detailed breakdown of complaints in future reports.
Councillors noted the number of complaints had halved compared to the previous year when the council introduced the new waste service. In 2011/12, the majority of complaints related to council tax collection and benefits. During the year, the ombudsman had considered seven complaints but had not found any maladministration by the council.
There were several complaints relating to the planning service. The chairman asked for a further breakdown of these; the officers agreed to circulate this information to committee members.
The chairman queried whether internal audit had found any evidence that complaints were not being recorded. The audit manager reported that during the last complaints review in 2009/10, she had found no evidence that complaints were not being recorded and dealt with appropriately. However, the chairman asked the audit manager to check if complaints were generally being recorded as such as part of her general audit work. The audit manager agreed to discuss this with the section 151 officer and identify what interim checks could be made.
The chairman reported that he and Councillor Judy Roberts were liaising with the chief executive over a revision to the complaints’ procedure. This would be presented to the committee at a later date.
(a) note the report;
(b) ask officers to provide a further breakdown of the complaints about the planning service in 2011/12; and
(c) request the audit manager to investigate what interim checks can be made to assess whether complaints are being recorded appropriately.