Council complaints increase 37 per cent in one year

Worcester City Council: complaints are up, but bosses say better recording of data explains at least some of the rise

Worcester City Council: complaints are up, but bosses say better recording of data explains at least some of the rise

First published in News Worcester News: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

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.

Comments (10)

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6:16pm Wed 2 Jul 14

grumpy woman says...

That's what happens when you get rid of all the workers.
That's what happens when you get rid of all the workers. grumpy woman
  • Score: 6

7:28pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Andy_R says...

If anyone wants to complain that Alan Amos has breached the section of the official Worcester City councillors code of conduct that says "You must not conduct yourself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing your office or authority into disrepute.", here's the link for that:
http://www.worcester
.gov.uk/index.php?id
=1729
If anyone wants to complain that Alan Amos has breached the section of the official Worcester City councillors code of conduct that says "You must not conduct yourself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing your office or authority into disrepute.", here's the link for that: http://www.worcester .gov.uk/index.php?id =1729 Andy_R
  • Score: 7

8:00pm Wed 2 Jul 14

CJH says...

Is Amos still on holiday/in hiding?
Is Amos still on holiday/in hiding? CJH
  • Score: 2

8:07pm Wed 2 Jul 14

CJH says...

Andy_R wrote:
If anyone wants to complain that Alan Amos has breached the section of the official Worcester City councillors code of conduct that says "You must not conduct yourself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing your office or authority into disrepute.", here's the link for that:
http://www.worcester

.gov.uk/index.php?id

=1729
That link is broken (I wonder why???), but the complaint form is here http://www.worcester
.gov.uk/councillor-c
omplaints-form
[quote][p][bold]Andy_R[/bold] wrote: If anyone wants to complain that Alan Amos has breached the section of the official Worcester City councillors code of conduct that says "You must not conduct yourself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing your office or authority into disrepute.", here's the link for that: http://www.worcester .gov.uk/index.php?id =1729[/p][/quote]That link is broken (I wonder why???), but the complaint form is here http://www.worcester .gov.uk/councillor-c omplaints-form CJH
  • Score: 3

8:10pm Wed 2 Jul 14

wonky willy says...

Oh what a surprise, yet another article in the paper about city council failing. Is this a smear campaign by the conservatives to highlight the councils failings so people in the city loose faith, and that way giving them another reason to start commission things out.
Oh what a surprise, yet another article in the paper about city council failing. Is this a smear campaign by the conservatives to highlight the councils failings so people in the city loose faith, and that way giving them another reason to start commission things out. wonky willy
  • Score: 2

9:08pm Wed 2 Jul 14

pinkfluff says...

Bosses at the authority insist the rise is mainly due to efforts to allow people to complain more easily,......what?
Bosses at the authority insist the rise is mainly due to efforts to allow people to complain more easily,......what? pinkfluff
  • Score: 3

9:41pm Wed 2 Jul 14

jovialcommonsense says...

pinkfluff wrote:
Bosses at the authority insist the rise is mainly due to efforts to allow people to complain more easily,......what?
It's the latest fashion. All public institutions, and private if closely regulated by government, have to encourage complaints by stating clearly how to go about it. Probably costing us all a fortune as trivia is investigated. Shame the genuine ones will probably get lost in the volume.
[quote][p][bold]pinkfluff[/bold] wrote: Bosses at the authority insist the rise is mainly due to efforts to allow people to complain more easily,......what?[/p][/quote]It's the latest fashion. All public institutions, and private if closely regulated by government, have to encourage complaints by stating clearly how to go about it. Probably costing us all a fortune as trivia is investigated. Shame the genuine ones will probably get lost in the volume. jovialcommonsense
  • Score: 2

9:07am Thu 3 Jul 14

MikeA says...

There are times when I don’t like Tom’s superficial reporting and indeed his use of the English language.

The LGO has a tight remit what it can or cannot investigate.

Just because complaints were “struck out” doesn’t mean to say that the complaints were not completely valid.

In complete fairness to Tom, so much reporting in this country is now superficial and padding.

We would all learn more about our councils, if the likes of Tom had the time from his editor to focus deeply on a few issues together with his range of reporting.

The issue for Tom and the general public is that the councils are highly knowledgeable and skilled in not answering questions.

Considering Tom’s use of the expression “struck out”, the Press Complaints Commission would rule that it is “accurate” notwithstanding that it is entirely possible for all of the complaints referred to the LGO to have been completely valid and legitimate.

I will not waste my time complaining to the Worcester News and the Press Complaints Commission that Tom’s reporting may in fact be misleading as it would simply be “struck out”!

Unfortunately “accurate” doesn’t mean ‘fair and representative’ of a particular set of circumstances.

You might feel that I am being pedantic but actually this is how the PCC and our councils play with us.
There are times when I don’t like Tom’s superficial reporting and indeed his use of the English language. The LGO has a tight remit what it can or cannot investigate. Just because complaints were “struck out” doesn’t mean to say that the complaints were not completely valid. In complete fairness to Tom, so much reporting in this country is now superficial and padding. We would all learn more about our councils, if the likes of Tom had the time from his editor to focus deeply on a few issues together with his range of reporting. The issue for Tom and the general public is that the councils are highly knowledgeable and skilled in not answering questions. Considering Tom’s use of the expression “struck out”, the Press Complaints Commission would rule that it is “accurate” notwithstanding that it is entirely possible for all of the complaints referred to the LGO to have been completely valid and legitimate. I will not waste my time complaining to the Worcester News and the Press Complaints Commission that Tom’s reporting may in fact be misleading as it would simply be “struck out”! Unfortunately “accurate” doesn’t mean ‘fair and representative’ of a particular set of circumstances. You might feel that I am being pedantic but actually this is how the PCC and our councils play with us. MikeA
  • Score: 0

9:07am Thu 3 Jul 14

MikeA says...

There are times when I don’t like Tom’s superficial reporting and indeed his use of the English language.

The LGO has a tight remit what it can or cannot investigate.

Just because complaints were “struck out” doesn’t mean to say that the complaints were not completely valid.

In complete fairness to Tom, so much reporting in this country is now superficial and padding.

We would all learn more about our councils, if the likes of Tom had the time from his editor to focus deeply on a few issues together with his range of reporting.

The issue for Tom and the general public is that the councils are highly knowledgeable and skilled in not answering questions.

Considering Tom’s use of the expression “struck out”, the Press Complaints Commission would rule that it is “accurate” notwithstanding that it is entirely possible for all of the complaints referred to the LGO to have been completely valid and legitimate.

I will not waste my time complaining to the Worcester News and the Press Complaints Commission that Tom’s reporting may in fact be misleading as it would simply be “struck out”!

Unfortunately “accurate” doesn’t mean ‘fair and representative’ of a particular set of circumstances.

You might feel that I am being pedantic but actually this is how the PCC and our councils play with us.
There are times when I don’t like Tom’s superficial reporting and indeed his use of the English language. The LGO has a tight remit what it can or cannot investigate. Just because complaints were “struck out” doesn’t mean to say that the complaints were not completely valid. In complete fairness to Tom, so much reporting in this country is now superficial and padding. We would all learn more about our councils, if the likes of Tom had the time from his editor to focus deeply on a few issues together with his range of reporting. The issue for Tom and the general public is that the councils are highly knowledgeable and skilled in not answering questions. Considering Tom’s use of the expression “struck out”, the Press Complaints Commission would rule that it is “accurate” notwithstanding that it is entirely possible for all of the complaints referred to the LGO to have been completely valid and legitimate. I will not waste my time complaining to the Worcester News and the Press Complaints Commission that Tom’s reporting may in fact be misleading as it would simply be “struck out”! Unfortunately “accurate” doesn’t mean ‘fair and representative’ of a particular set of circumstances. You might feel that I am being pedantic but actually this is how the PCC and our councils play with us. MikeA
  • Score: 0

9:26pm Tue 8 Jul 14

,weekp3i47545ruioip[4orp[orp[]23r[]23pr[]ep3oerp[] says...

Why are brown bins going in with normal refuse 3 times I've. Seen this happen People are getting riped of paying for the brown bins and it goes to the tip with the refuse
Why are brown bins going in with normal refuse 3 times I've. Seen this happen People are getting riped of paying for the brown bins and it goes to the tip with the refuse ,weekp3i47545ruioip[4orp[orp[]23r[]23pr[]ep3oerp[]
  • Score: 1

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