Corporate Complaints & Compliments – 2009 / 2010 Annual Report

Policy and Resources Committee

22nd November 2010

1.0 INTRODUCTION

1.1 Complaints are out there. All organisations, whether public or private, have them. It can be said that a certain level of complaints shows that an organisation is open and healthy. The better organisations, however, find ways to get their customers to tell them when they are not happy. Carmarthenshire County Council has developed a procedure, which it is hoped enables people to do exactly this in an easy and fair way.

1.2 Our complaints procedure allows us to:

1.3 The procedure seeks to:

2.0. DEFINITIONS

2.1 A complaint is:

A complaint is not:

2.2 The Complaints and Compliments procedure is entirely separate from that of the Member Enquiry Procedure which principally deals with requests for action or for a service.

2.3 Compliments are expressions of satisfaction. They are particularly appreciated as they provide confirmation that the Authority and its employees provide services that meet or exceed expectations and have a very positive effect on employee morale.

3.0. COMPLAINTS MATTERS THAT FALL OUTSIDE OF THIS PROCEDURE

3.1 Sometimes members of the public have specific rights of appeal or other remedies if they have grievances, and the corporate procedure is not appropriate in these circumstances. Complaints that fall outside of the corporate procedure include:

4.0. ACCESS TO THE COMPLAINTS & COMPLIMENTS PROCEDURE

4.1 Customers can make a complaint or compliment in a number of ways:

5.0. THE CORPORATE COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

5.1 The procedure for dealing with complaints specifically consists of 3 key stages. The stages are designed to provide the customer with a thorough and fair means of redress and to provide a framework for officers to work within.

5.2 Please note: Different time targets apply to complaints dealt with under the statutory provisions for social services complaints.

6.0. ROLES / RESPONSIBILITIES WITHIN THE PROCEDURE

6.1 Each department has an appointed officer to take responsibility for the co-ordination and implementation of the procedure within their department:

6.2. On a quarterly basis, the Departmental Complaints Officers meet with officers who have a corporate responsibility for the Complaints & Compliments Procedure:

6.3 The Departmental Complaints Officer Working Group, chaired by the Consultation Co-ordinator (Customer Focus and Policy Division), continually reviews the procedure and the manner in which it operates with a view to obtaining continuous service improvement.

7.0 MONITORING

7.1 The operation of the Corporate Complaints & Compliments procedure on a departmental basis is monitored quarterly by individual Scrutiny Committees. The operation of the complaints & compliments procedure on a corporate basis is monitored quarterly by the Policy & Resources Scrutiny Committee.

7.2 Questions raised by Councillors at Scrutiny Committees are fed into the Complaints Officer Working Group for discussion and the response subsequently fed back to the relevant Scrutiny Committee. There are also links between the Complaints Officer Working Group and the Chairs / Vice-Chairs of Scrutiny Committee meetings.

7.3 The Complaints and Compliments Annual Report is presented to the Policy and Resources Scrutiny Committee and Standards Committee both of which are asked to consider whether further actions (over and above those detailed in the report) are required.

8.0 COMPLAINTS & COMPLIMENTS RECORDED 2009 / 2010 – ANALYSIS BY SCRUTINY COMMITTEE AREA

8.1 Before detailing the number of complaints and compliments recorded during 2009 / 2010, it is important to stress that it is how complaints are dealt with and how promptly they are responded to, and the lessons that are learnt from them, that are really crucial to our performance in complaints handling.

8.2 The total number of complaints received under the Council’s Corporate Procedure decreased by 320 (28.5%) from 1,122 in 2008 / 2009 to 802 in 2009 / 2010.

8.3 The total number of compliments received under the Council’s Corporate Procedure decreased by 64 (9.8%) from 653 in 2008 / 2009 to 589 in 2009 / 2010. (See table below)

8.4 A 3 year comparison (2007 / 2008, 2008/ 2009 and 2009 / 2010) of complaints received, complaints resolved and compliments received is detailed in Appendix 1.

Complaints & Compliments Recorded 2009 / 2010 - Analysis by Scrutiny Committee

SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

DEPARTMENT

Number of

Complaints received (1)

Number of Complaints resolved

Number receiving a response within 10 working days (2)

Number of compliments received

Policy & Resources

Chief Executives

51

47

(92%)

44

(86%)

67

Resources

92

88

(96%)

82

(89%)

83

Complaints relating to more than one department

26

26

(100%)

26

(100%)

0

Stage 3 referrals to chief executive

15

15

(100%)

9

(60%)

0

SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

DEPARTMENT

Number of

Complaints received (1)

Number of Complaints resolved

Number receiving a response within 10 working days (2)

Number of compliments received

Environment

Technical Services

155

124

(80%)

108

(70%)

182

SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

DEPARTMENT

Number of

Complaints received (1)

Number of Complaints resolved

Number receiving a response within 10 working days (2)

Number of compliments received

Health and Social Care

Social Care, Health & Housing

146

137

(94%)

97

(66%)

44

SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

DEPARTMENT

Number of

Complaints received (1)

Number of Complaints resolved

Number receiving a response within 10 working days (2)

Number of compliments received

Housing

Technical Services (Housing Repairs & Maintenance)

73

73

(100%)

48

(66%)

32

Social Care, Health & Housing

102

102

(94%)

79

(77%)

51

SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

DEPARTMENT

Number of

Complaints received (1)

Number of Complaints resolved

Number receiving a response within 10 working days (2)

Number of compliments received

Education & Children’s Services

Education & Children’s Services

28

26

(93%)

24

(86%)

60

Social Care, Health & Housing

28

24

(86%)

12

(43%)

3

SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

DEPARTMENT

Number of

Complaints received (1)

Number of Complaints resolved

Number receiving a response within 10 working days (2)

Number of compliments received

Regeneration and Leisure

Regeneration & Leisure

57

57

(100%)

43

(75%)

48

SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

DEPARTMENT

Number of

Complaints received (1)

Number of Complaints resolved

Number receiving a response within 10 working days (2)

Number of compliments received

Social Justice

Social Care, Health & Housing

29

29

(100%)

19

(66%)

19

AUTHORITY TOTAL

 

Number of

Complaints received (1)

Number of Complaints resolved

Number receiving a response within 10 working days (2)

Number of compliments received

 

802

748 (93%)

591 (74%)

589

9.0 TARGET TIME - PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS

9.1 We aim to deal with complaints immediately but if this is not possible we try to reply within the following time limits:

9.2 The proportion of complaints receiving a response within the time limit is detailed in the table under paragraph 8. A 3 year comparison of complaints receiving a response within the time limit is detailed in Appendix 1.

9.3 Please note: Different time targets apply to complaints dealt with under the statutory provisions for social services complaints.

11.0 CUSTOMER FEEDBACK

11.1 Previously, Standards Committee members have questioned whether the Authority had put in place a system to ascertain whether complainants were satisfied with the method by which their complaint had been managed. Until 2004, paper based surveys were issued to all complainants whose complaint file had been closed. This process had been discontinued because the response rate proved to be very low meaning that the base number of surveys was small. Additionally, analysis of the surveys indicated that many complainants found it difficult to separate satisfaction with the outcome of their complaint with how the complaint was handled.

11.2 During its consideration of the Complaints and Compliments 2007 / 2008 Annual Report, members of the Standards Committee expressed the wish for officers to undertake a customer satisfaction survey on the Council’s complaints process. It was accepted that some complainants found it difficult to separate satisfaction with the outcome of their complaint with how the complaint was handled, nevertheless, members considered it important that the council endeavoured to survey complainants on the operation of the process.

11.3 Research was conducted into complainant satisfaction surveys and a paper-based survey was prepared based on best practice. The Complaints Officer Working Group discussed the survey and agreed that it would be piloted in the Chief Executive’s Department in 2009 / 2010.

11.4 Unfortunately, no responses were received to the paper-based survey and so a pilot has now commenced in the Chief Executive’s Department to gain customer feedback on the complaints procedure via telephone calls. The results of the pilot will be reported to a future meeting of the Committee.

11.5 Previously (2004 and 2006), questions have been submitted to the Carmarthenshire Citizens’ Panel to gather feedback from Carmarthenshire residents on their knowledge / awareness of the procedure, their experience of the procedure (if they have used it), their feelings on the response target and where they think we should target future awareness-raising material.

11.6 In order to monitor progress on these key issues, questions were submitted to the Carmarthenshire Citizens’ Panel in 2009. The results are detailed in Appendix 2.

12.0 WORK COMPLETED DURING 2009 / 2010

During 2009 / 2010 the following actions were undertaken:

13.0 FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS

CONCLUSION

The Authority remains very committed to improving services and the information returned via complaints & compliments is one of the key mechanisms for doing this.

The report highlights the Authority's performance achieved under the corporate complaints & compliments procedure and the proactive approach adopted to complaints management.

An ambitious work programme has been set for the coming year to further improve the efficiency of the complaints & compliments procedure, processes, handling and monitoring systems.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Policy and Resources Scrutiny Committee are asked to consider the contents of this report and whether any further specific actions are required.

REASONS

To bring the authority's complaints & compliments figures for 2009 / 20010 to the attention of the Policy and Resources Scrutiny Committee.

To bring the `work completed' and `future developments' in relation to the customer complaints & compliments procedure to the attention of the Policy and Resources Scrutiny Committee.

APPENDIX 1

Complaints and Compliments Recorded – 3 Year Period – Analysis by Scrutiny Committee

SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

DEPARTMENT

Number of

Complaints received (1)

Number of Complaints resolved

Number receiving a response within 10 working days (2)

Number of compliments received

   

07/08

08/09

09/10

07/08

08/09

09/10

07/08

08/09

09/10

07/08

08/09

09/10

Policy & Resources

Chief Executives

82

38

51

82

100%

38

100%

47

92%

77

94%

32

84%

44

86%

39

92

67

Resources

65

63

92

62

95

%

59

94%

88

96%

53

82%

49

78%

82

89%

66

46

83

Complaints relating to more than one department

12

5

26

0

0%

5

100%

26

100%

8

66%

5

100%

26

100 %

0

0

0

Stage 3 referrals to chief executive

26

18

15

0

0%

17

94%

15

100%

20

79%

16

89%

9

60%

0

0

0

SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

DEPARTMENT

Number of

Complaints received (1)

Number of Complaints resolved

Number receiving a response within 10 working days for corporate procedure and 28 days for Social Services statutory procedure (2)

Number of compliments received

   

07/08

08/09

09/10

07/08

08/09

09/10

07/08

08/09

09/10

07/08

08/09

09/10

Environment

Technical Services

287

438

155

276

96%

299

68%

124

80

%

201

70%

247

56%

108

70%

87

107

182

                           

SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

DEPARTMENT

Number of

Complaints received (1)

Number of Complaints resolved

Number receiving a response within 20 working days (2)

Number of compliments received

   

07/08

08/09

09/10

07/08

08/09

09/10

07/08

08/09

09/10

07/08

08/09

09/10

Health and Social Care

Social Care, Health & Housing

209

161

146

209

100%

140

87%

137

94%

145

69%

99

61%

97

66%

75

140

44

SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

DEPARTMENT

Number of

Complaints received (1)

Number of Complaints resolved

Number receiving a response within 10 working days (2)

Number of compliments received

   

07/08

08/09

09/10

07/08

08/09

09/10

07/08

08/09

09/10

07/08

08/09

09/10

Housing

Social Care, Health & Housing

185

78

73

133

72%

74

95%

73

100%

83

45

%

47

60%

48

66%

76

42

32

 

Technical Services (Housing Repairs & Maintenance)

 

153

102

 

114

75%

102

100%

 

103

67%

79

77%

 

25

51

SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

DEPARTMENT

Number of

Complaints received (1)

Number of Complaints resolved

Number receiving a response within 10 working days for corporate procedure and 28 days for Social Services statutory procedure (2)

Number of compliments received

   

07/08

08/09

09/10

07/08

08/09

09/10

07/08

08/09

09/10

07/08

08/09

09/10

Education & Children’s Services

Education & Children’s Services

18

24

28

18

100%

22

92%

26

93%

17

94%

22

92%

24

86%

44

63

60

Social Care, Health & Housing

26

33

28

26

100%

32

97%

24

86%

21

81%

24

73%

12

43%

14

18

3

SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

DEPARTMENT

Number of

Complaints received (1)

Number of Complaints resolved

Number receiving a response within 10 working days (2)

Number of compliments received

   

07/08

08/09

09/10

07/08

08/09

09/10

07/08

08/09

09/10

07/08

08/09

09/10

Regeneration and Leisure

Regeneration & Leisure

75

86

57

75

100%

86

100%

57

100%

60

80%

74

86%

43

75%

86

103

48

SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

DEPARTMENT

Number of

Complaints received (1)

Number of Complaints resolved

Number receiving a response within 10 working days (2)

Number of compliments received

   

07/08

08/09

 

07/08

08/09

 

07/08

08/09

 

07/08

08/09

 

Social Justice

Social Care, Health & Housing

28

25

29

28

100%

24

96%

29

100%

20

71%

18

72%

19

66%

17

17

19

APPENDIX 2

CARMARTHENSHIRE CITIZENS’ PANEL

COMPLAINTS REPORT – COMPARISONS 2004-2009

OCTOBER 2009 RESULTS

This report focuses on Carmarthenshire Panel member’s views of the Council’s complaints process, and how they have changed since we first included these questions in 2006.

Replies from each year have been noted with the highest responses being highlighted in blue, and a brief comparison noted at the end of each question.

It should also be noted that the number of people who replied to each survey changed - the actual figures are shown below:

Both quantitative (tick box) and qualitative (free text) questions were asked, the latter ensuring that the true opinion of those who participated was obtained. The responses have been coded to ensure consistency and thorough analysis and in some cases categories have been created to incorporate all the replies received and allow them to be placed into chart form.

All results have been placed into percentage format unless otherwise stated. Due to the decimalisation of percentages, the figures have been rounded up and down accordingly which may lead, in some cases, to the amount totalling 99% and 101%. Furthermore, in multiple-choice questions, the percentages for answers provided will far exceed a total of 100%.

4. Results

Q. 1 Over the last year, have you wanted to complain about the Council or any of its services?

 

Yes

No

2004 - survey 12

32%

68%

2006 - survey 17

31%

69%

2009 - survey 26

28%

72%

Comparison between 2004 & 2009

The difference between 2004 and 2009 was an decrease of 4% in those who had wanted to make a complaint.

Q. 2 If you were dissatisfied with any aspect of Carmarthenshire County Councils service, would you know how to make a complaint?

 

Yes

No

2004 - survey 12

68%

32%

2006 - survey 17

65%

35%

2009 - survey 26

68%

32%

Comparison between 2004 & 2009

In the 2006 survey, there was a decrease of 3% in those who knew how to make a complaint, but this rose again in the 2009 survey.

Q. 3 Are you aware that Carmarthenshire County Council has a procedure that deals with complaints and compliments?

 

Yes

No

2004 - survey 12

54%

46%

2006 - survey 17

59%

41%

2009 - survey 26

59%

41%

Comparison between 2004 & 2009

There was an increase of 5% in respondent’s awareness of the complaints and compliments procedure.

Q. 4 And did you actually make a complaint?

 

Yes

No

Can’t recall

2004 - survey 12

34%

66%

Not asked

2006 - survey 17

47%

51%

2%

2009 - survey 26

54%

45%

1%

Comparison between 2004 & 2009

Since the 2004 survey, there was an increase of 20% in those who had made a complaint.

Q. 5 How did you make your complaint?

 

2004 - survey 12

2006 - survey 17

2009 - survey 26

By phone

57

40

42

By letter/fax

16

10

15

By email

4

9

18

Through the Council’s website

3

4

4

Through my local Councillor

11

5

13

In person

10

   

Comparison between 2004 & 2009

Consistently the largest number of respondents made their complaint by telephone.

Q. 6 How easy or difficult did you find the process of making your complaint?

 

2004 - survey 12

2006 - survey 17

2009 - survey 26

Very easy

28

24

26

Easy

36

49

36

Difficult

10

12

10

Very difficult

8

12

4

Comparison between 2004 & 2009

Consistently the largest number of respondents found the process of making their complaint ‘easy’.

Q. 7 How satisfied or dissatisfied were you with the way your complaint was handled - N.B. the complaints process, not the outcome of the complaint?

 

2004 - survey 12

2006 - survey 17

2009 - survey 26

Very satisfied

21

20

11

Fairly satisfied

31

24

22

Neither

2

10

15

Fairly dissatisfied

5

12

9

Very dissatisfied

24

27

20

Comparison between 2004 & 2009

Since the 2004 survey, there was a decrease of 10 respondents who said they were very satisfied with the complaints process, and a decrease of 9 respondents who were fairly satisfied.

Q. 8 The current target for responding to complaints in the Complaints and Compliments Procedure is 10 working days. How do you feel about this target time?

 

Too long

Too short

About right

2004 - survey 12

44%

4%

52%

2006 - survey 17

30%

5%

65%

2009 - survey 26

35%

6%

59%

Comparison between 2004 & 2009

Since the 2004 survey, there was a decrease of 9% who felt this target was too long, and an increase of 7% who thought it was about right.

Q. 9 Have you ever seen the public information leaflet entitled, 'Have Your Say', which explains the Complaints and Compliments Procedure and gives information on how to make a complaint?

 

Yes

No

Can’t recall

2004 - survey 12

15%

64%

21%

2006 - survey 17

15%

62%

23%

2009 - survey 26

13%

64%

23%

Comparison between 2004 & 2009

There was a decrease of 2% who had seen the ‘Have Your Say’ leaflet.

Q. 10 The 'Have Your Say' leaflet is available on the Councils website, in main Council Office reception areas and Customer Service Centres. Where else should the leaflet be available?

The top three places respondents suggested leaflets should be made available were:

 

1st suggestion

2nd suggestion

3rd suggestion

2004 - survey 12

Libraries

Post offices

Surgeries/waiting rooms

2006 - survey 17

Libraries

Post offices

Sent to households by post

2009 - survey 26

Libraries

Post offices

Sent to households by post