Transport department is ahead – in complaints
Nmber of grievances raised with county council has risen
THE county’s transport services received more complaints than any other council department last year, figures reveal.
A total of 760 complaints were made to Bucks County Council (BCC) in 2017/18 alone – 448 of which directly related to the transport, economy and environ- ment department, tasked with overseeing the county’s roads.
The failing children’s services received 183 complaints in the same time period, while 76 were made to communities, health and social care.
BCC’s annual compliments and complaints report stated resources – which includes communication, legal and democratic services – received the least amount of negative feedback, with 47 complaints made to the department over one year.
The number of complaints across all county council departments has increased by 8.4 per cent in the last year – rising from 701 to this year’s total of 760.
However compliments are also on the rise, after health and social care services received 196 positive responses last year, compared with 107 the previous year.
In total BCC received 435 compliments over the last financial year.
Speaking at a meeting of BCC’s regulatory and audit committee on Wednesday, September 12, the corporate complaints manager, Kate Mitchelmore, said an new plan was launched in October last year to improve the way complaints are handled.
She said: “What we’ve seen is some improve- ment in the timescales, more accountability in services. We are having more meetings in the areas where we received the most corporate complaints.
“We are improving the quality of responses and the relationship is easier to manage. Going forward we want to record learning.
“We know there is learning going on and we see pockets of it, but we are not recording it and that is where the new system comes in looking how we can develop the system so we can record learning.”
However she added “work still needs to be done” as just 33 per cent of complaints made regarding children’s services were responded to within the 10-day target, while 58 per cent were responded to between 11 and 20 days.
Councillor for Stoke Poges and Wexham Ralph Bagge asked how the committee is ensuring complaints are dealt with “to satisfaction”.
Complaints officer Carolyn Schole, said it is “difficult to say” if someone is completely happy with the county council’s response, but added the process is closely monitored by the regulator, the local government ombudsman.