Trans­port de­part­ment is ahead – in com­plaints

Nm­ber of griev­ances raised with county coun­cil has risen

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - JASMINE RAPSON jasmine.rapson@trin­i­tymir­ Lo­cal Democ­racy Re­porter

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.

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