Agenda Item No 6

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Audit Committee: 31 January 2018

 

Report of the Managing Director

 

Corporate Complaints Annual Report 2016/17 and Six Monthly Review of Complaints1 April to 30 September 2017

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To advise Audit Committee of the performance of Corporate Complaints and Compliments during 2016/17, and improvements planned for 2017/18.

Recommendation

That Audit Committee notes the content of this report

Reason for the Recommendation

To ensure effective monitoring of corporate complaints is undertaken.

Background

  1. The Council adopted the Welsh Government's Model Corporate Concerns and Complaints Policy in July 2013. There is a two-stage process, Stage 1 and Stage 2. Complaints at Stage 1 are seen as informal resolution and should be responded to within 10 working days. Stage 2 complaints are seen as formal complaints and should be responded to within 20 working days. After that the complainant is advised to contact the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales, if they remain unhappy.
  2. All Corporate Complaints and Compliments are recorded on Oracle CRM and feed in to the Complaints and Compliments Dashboards.
  3. Corporate Management Team has received reports on the annual performance of Corporate Complaints over the last 3 years. In addition, Social Services report their annual complaints performance to the Healthy Living and Social Care Scrutiny Committee.
  4. The Audit Committee has within its terms of reference to monitor the Corporate Complaints policy and to make recommendations to Cabinet/and or Council as appropriate.
  5. An effective complaints system plays a key role in ensuring that members of the public receiving or seeking a service from the Council have any concerns or complaints dealt with effectively. In addition, any compliments are captured in order that good practice and service can be shared with staff.
  6. The complaints process enables staff to acknowledge when mistakes have been made, put them right effectively, apologise where appropriate, learn lessons from complaints and use the information we gain to improve our services.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. During 2016/2017 344 Stage 1 complaints and 49 Stage 2 complaints were received. Therefore a total of 393 complaints. This was an increase of 17 complaints compared to 2015/16. 
  2. There were 303 complaints for the Environment and Housing Directorate; 79 complaints for the Resources Directorate and 11 for the Learning and Skills Directorate.
  3. Corporate complaints are being investigated well and analysis shows that 88% of complaints are being resolved at Stage 1. However there is room for improvement.
  4. 75% of complaints were dealt with within the 10/20 working day deadline, however 25% were not. The 75% figure was an improvement compared to the previous year of 73%. If Stage 2 complaints only are looked at in terms of response times, 88% of those were dealt with within 20 working days.
  5. The average number of complaints received was 33 per month. August 2016 saw a total of 100 Stage 1 complaints and 6 Stage 2 complaints. The main reason for this was due to 90 complaints for Waste Management due to the change in waste and recycling days across the Vale. 44% of all Corporate Complaints received during 2016/17 related to Waste Management. To put this into context the Waste Management Team provides up to 180,000 different collections to Households per week.
  6. With regards to lessons learned, as a result of complaints Waste Management identified that their Refuse Collectors required training. To address this Toolbox talks have taken place with all crews especially with regards to placing bags and boxes.
  7. Since September 2016 it has been possible for services to monitor their own complaint performance using real time information from the Complaints Dashboard.  This should mean going forward that there is a better foundation for the better management of complaints in the future.
  8. During 2016/17 there were 41 complaints in respect of this Council reported to the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales. No Section 16 or 21 Reports were issued against the Council during 2016/17.
  9. An Equality Survey of complaints was undertaken in March/April 2016. The main finding was that 68% of people who returned their Equality Form were over 47 years old and 1% (1 person) was between the ages of 17 and 26 years old. More work will be done to highlight the use of the Council's Mobile App to make a complaint.
  10. Compliments have been recorded during 2016/17. Waste Management received 86 compliments, which was 39.9% of the total recorded.
  11. Areas for future work in 2017/18 include Managers using the Complaints Dashboard to monitor their own performance in respect of Corporate Complaints and to report to Directorate Management Teams on a regular basis. Managers need to improve the percentage of complaints completed within the target completion times, and consider key learning points and causes of complaints to improve service delivery. The Customer Complaints Officer will liaise with managers to identify any training needs. She will also report to CMT on a regular basis.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. Operating the Corporate Concerns and Complaints Policy is not a statutory responsibility, however it is good practice. The Welsh Government and the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales expect local authorities to comply with this Policy. There are costs which accrue to the Directorate, such as the production of complaints leaflets and staff costs. These costs have been managed within the budget set for this area of work.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. The effective delivery of the Complaints and Concerns procedures assist the Council to deliver good governance.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. There is no statutory requirement to adopt the Model Concerns and Complaints Policy and Guidance for Public Services Providers in Wales. However the Welsh Government and Public Services Ombudsman for Wales have commended its adoption.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. There are no crime and disorder implications as a direct result of this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. All service users are able to access the Corporate Concerns and Complaints Policy. An Equality survey is sent to complainants asking for feedback on the eight protected Characteristics.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. Contributes to Wellbeing Objective of creating Inclusive and Safe Vale and to Performance and Development Service Plan action CP5 Coordinate work across the Council to ensure consultation and engagement activities are effective and give residents a meaningful voice.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. There are no matters in this report which relate to an individual ward.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Corporate Resources and Performance

Background Papers

None

Contact Officer

Tony Curliss

Officers Consulted

Head of Legal Services

Head of Finance

Head of Performance and Development

Operational Manager - Audit

Customer Complaints Officer

Responsible Officer:

Managing Director