Customer Service, Sport & Leisure Cabinet Member – Minutes – 10 July 2012

1        (1)  CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS POLICY – The Director of Places submitted a report seeking approval of a revised customer complaints policy.

The report identified that the council had agreed its priorities for the period 2012/16, and that one of the priorities was “Excellence in Customer Service”.  The priorities were underpinned by a series of aims, one of which was that the council would “listen to our customers and provide them with value for money.”

Procedures were already in place to deal with complaints, however these had been last reviewed in 2009.  The Cabinet Member was advised that these once again needed to be reviewed, in response to several issues that had arisen.  The report identified some of the issues that had lead to the latest review being undertaken.

It was explained that the existing process for responding to formal complaints involved three stages, with officers undertaking investigations into complaints at stages 1 and 2.  Stage 3 was a final review of the complaint by the council’s monitoring officer.

Officers had looked at examples of other council complaints policies and procedures, many of whom operated a two-stage process.  It was explained that none of the ones looked at involved a monitoring officer at any stage, and it was clarified that the Local Government Ombudsman Office also, did not require the involvement of a monitoring officer.

The revised policy included a new two-stage formal complaints process, to deal with complaints better and more quickly overall.  Officers had discussed the proposed complaints process with complaints coordinators, legal service staff and the council management team.  Complaints coordinators welcomed a more detailed policy to support them in their role and overall it was felt that a two-stage process was a better way to deal with customer complaints.

Resolved – That the revised complaints policy, and the two- stage complaints process be approved.