Learning from complaints - 2014/15

Performance information for complaints handling

Complaints - graphic

When a complaint is upheld or partially upheld, a range of additional information is gathered and assessed to determine if a change or improvement requires to be made to put things right, ensure the problem does not happen again, or improve the service.

Information regarding the nature of a specific complaint (e.g. the time, location, parties involved, and the reasons) and the volume of complaints regarding a specific issue, is gathered in order to assess the situation and identify any corrective action required.

Changes or improvements made to our services as a result of complaints received are summarised below:

You said ...We listened
The level of cleanliness in the toilets at Kirkshaws Primary School was not as it should be.As a large number of lets take place in the evenings, we introduced additional checks and cleaning of the toilets in the morning prior to school use.  This will ensure the premises are clean at all times.
Our guidance around electrical certification and safety requirements was not clear.We updated the guidance material to clarify what certification is required for electrical installation.
Your children did not get first choice for school meals.We now provide a pre order facility for school meals at an additional seven primary schools.  This allows children to choose their school lunch in advance daily and also assists the catering staff in the preparation of meals.
There were often delays due to calculations having to be checked during the tender process.We introduced Quick Quote tendering for structural calculations.  The Public Contracts Scotland Quick Quote online service makes the tender process, and communication around the tender process, more efficient.
Your housing proofing works were not undertaken properly and this resulted in a recurrence of a pest problem.Should any proofing works be required at any council house following a pest control visit in the future, we will ensure that specific details of the proofing works are issued from our housing repairs team to our pest control team. This will ensure the correct information is shared and, depending on the seriousness of the situation, the correct response categorisation (i.e. routine or emergency) is allocated to complete the works in the quickest time possible.  This will allow the correct proofing works to be undertaken and avoid any pest re-infestations.
The criteria was not clear regarding free school meals.To provide clarification, and increase awareness, we produced an information leaflet to advise parents of the details regarding the criteria for free school meals. 
There was a lack of cupboard space when new kitchens were fitted.Following discussions with the contractor, we have improved the design of the kitchens to take on board feedback from tenants and make the fittings fit for purpose.
The content of a particular piece of homework could be considered offensive.We reviewed all homework resources in all schools to ensure these were up to date; any materials found to be out of date or obsolete were removed from circulation.  This reiterated the importance of general housekeeping in terms of homework resources and will ensure that this particular incident does not happen again.

We also review our statistics for complaints and analyse this information to help establish trends and patterns which help identify areas of concern.  Improvements implemented following such analysis are summarised below.

Waste management - following an increase in the volume of complaints of this nature we reviewed the range of information and implemented a number of changes to our background processes.  These are designed to improve the processes for dealing with complaints and help to ensure that they do not arise in the first place. 

  • We created additional failure specific reports from our job management system; these are reviewed regularly to help identify specific areas where improvement is required. 
  • We regularly review the detailed route information on our job management system as this helps to identify specific routes or crews which have high instances of missed collections or missed bins.
  • Additional meetings were put in place with Northline, our contact centre who are often the first point of contact for complaints, to identify problem areas and improve issues around communication.
  • We introduced weekly operational meetings with assistant managers and supervisors to ensure ownership of the areas of concern and improve communication.
  • We carried out additional briefings with front line crews.

Housing repairs - following a review we identified that complaints relating to missed appointments and poor communication were still being received.  To improve co-ordination and scheduling of trades people when carrying out repairs work, we implemented the following new practices.

  • We now ensure that Mears trades persons (e.g. plumbers, plasterers, joiners) are scheduled so that the correct trades are being used and any follow up work is scheduled for the appropriate time.
  • We use the latest web based version of this service as it tracks the jobs online.  This enables dynamic scheduling  to be deployed across a range of council and contractor functions.  This online facility also provides customers with access to an appointments system which is better co-ordinated which will help to reduce the number of occasions where trades people are unable to gain access.

Revenue services - following a causal analysis of complaints received, we made the following changes to our services.

  • To better inform customers and reduce the number of repeat contacts, we added an automated response to e-mails received by the benefits section, to let people know we have received their e-mail and will reply within 48 hours.  We also added an automated response to e-mails received by the non domestic rates section, to confirm that we have received the e-mail and that it will be dealt with by a rates assessor.
  • To provide additional information to customers that allows them to make an informed decision regarding the method of contact, we amended our telephone message, so that when engaged the message advises callers of the office's opening times.
  • To improve communication with customers, we changed the format of our awaiting information letters, omitting the use of capital letters in the correspondence as this can be construed as shouting.

Complaints handling

We maintain an overview of our performance in complaints handling throughout the year to ensure that we continue to provide a prompt service and members of the public continue to receive a quality service. Recent improvements we have made to our complaints handling processes are summarised below. 

  • Complaints may be made for a number of reasons, for example because of failure to provide a service or inadequate standard of service.  However, a routine first time request for a service is technically not a complaint although we often receive requests of this nature through our complaints process.  For this reason we carried out an analysis to establish the 10 most common reasons for requests for service which we often receive as complaints.  Using this information we created a new web page which provides links to the various different ways through which members of the public can contact the council to request a service.  Use of the facilities provided through these links, instead of the complaints handling procedure, will ensure requests for service are dealt with as easily and quickly as possible.
  • The complaints handling procedure allows for an extension to the required response date to be agreed with the complainant.  This often allows for more time to investigate a complex complaint and provide the complainant with a more complete and accurate response that resolves the complaint at the frontline.  To ensure that we make appropriate use of this function we continue to raise awareness of its use with colleagues across the council who regularly deal with complaints.
  • To be able to analyse the data from complaints and establish trends and patterns which point to areas of concern and help to inform changes or improvements to ways of working, requires full and accurate complaints information to be captured in the first instance.  For this reason we make regular random checks on cases and continue to raise awareness of the importance of this with colleagues across the council who regularly record complaints information.

Further information

To access information regarding the council's complaints procedure please use the link below:

complaints, comments, and compliments

For any queries or further details regarding the performance information on this page please contact the Business Solutions team.



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