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Council complaints increase 37 per cent in one year
THE number of complaints over Worcester City Council have rocketed 37 per cent in a year, it has emerged.
Bosses at the authority insist the rise is mainly due to efforts to allow people to complain more easily, but the new Conservative leadership is taking it seriously and says it wants to "learn lessons" as to why.
A new report has revealed a full breakdown of where the complaints came from in the 2013/14 financial year, including:
- 149 in the cleaner and greener department, which includes key areas like parking wardens, litter collections and parks
- 24 in housing and 10 in development management, which includes planning
- 11 for the safer and stronger communities department, which includes among other areas CCTV and community centres
Other complaints were over finance-related matters and the council's overall efficiency.
One year ago the council launched a new initiative to centralise complaints into a more accurate record and encourage more people to give feedback online.
They insist that could account for at least some of the rise, and add they did also get 50 compliments, 21 of which were for the cleaner and greener department.
Only three complaints ended up going all the way to the Local Government Ombudsman after the people involved were not happy with the council's response, and then they were struck out.
Conservative Councillor Simon Geraghty, the new city council leader after Labour were ousted from office earlier this month, says he wants to bring it back down.
"It's clear that complaints are up, there is no denying that in terms of the raw numbers," he said.
"We don't know exactly why and where we get any complaints it's clear we need to resolve them wherever possible, and in these cases act upon the feedback we get.
"The really important thing is that we learn from them."
The cleaner and greener department is always top of the pile for complaints because it has so many outward facing services to the public.
The complaints peaked in March when 36 were made across the service areas, eight of which were for parking issues.
The report said seven of those parking gripes were for fines, and the other for the new prices on council-run car parks, which have been increased this year.
The second most common complaints after parking services were around household rubbish collections, and most of those for missed pick-ups.