Few grumbles on Arran as complaints rise
North Ayrshire Council has received 1,813 complaints for the 2017/2018 year – up by 275 from the previous year – according to its annual report which provides a detailed analysis of complaints from across the local authority area, including Arran.
The 32-page report includes figures and results from the period between April 2017 and March 2018.
The vast majority of gripes, 1,237 of them, related to the council’s place department, which includes commercial services such as roads, transport and waste services and the physical environment, which includes housing, building services and facilities management. Included in these were complaints regarding the closure and transfer of public conveniences.
Residents moaned about street lighting, grass cutting, removal of a bus service and missed bins, among others. Out of the total of all complaints, 37 per cent were upheld while 18 per cent were partially upheld.
Irvine and Kilwinning residents made the majority of the complaints, owing to the higher population of the towns. Arran residents, along with Millport and Skelmorlie, provided the fewest number of complaints, once again a reflection of population sizes.
Council chief executive Elma Murray said: ‘North Ayrshire Council is committed to providing high quality services for North Ayrshire residents, businesses and visitors but it is recognised dissatisfaction will sometimes occur. When it does, we want to know what went wrong, why it went wrong and what we can do to make things right.
‘We review our complaint handling performance regularly to ensure we learn from mistakes and use the feedback we receive to improve services the council provides.’
The council said there was a ‘valid reason’ for the jump in complaints to 1,813, up from 1,538 the year before, saying that the leap was due to social work issues now being included in statistics and that a surge in school complaints had been attributed to better training in identifying problems raised.
The report stated: ‘The 38 per cent increase in complaints for education is the result of schools being better able to identify complaints after receiving additional support and guidance from the customer complaint team throughout the year.’
The council said a rise in policy complaints was due to ‘the changing of the council’s flag flying protocol, the removal of a free bus service and the removal or transfer of some public conveniences’.
Also included in the report were more than 570 compliments which recorded praise for council services. These included cross-council compliments where customers commended more than one service and some were internal, where employees complimented other employees.
The annual complaints report, which can be viewed online on the North Ayrshire Council website, was presented to the council’s audit and scrutiny committee.
Elma Murray, North Ayrshire Council chief executive.