Improvements noted in council customer feedback process

Posted on Friday 29th September 2023

Improvements in Newport City Council’s customer feedback process has led to better quality reporting of compliments, comments, and complaints.

Those are the preliminary findings of the council’s annual compliments, comments, and complaints report for 2022/23.

The report is currently in draft stage as it goes through the democratic process. It notes that a refinement in the complaints recording process, aligning it with the model complaint handling policy set out by the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, has led to an increase in the number of complaints the council has received compared to the previous 12 months.

The council recognises that accurate complaint reporting is essential to providing good services, and it will continue to monitor under reporting and ensure complaints are captured and recorded.

Where the Ombudsman identifies a council with a low complaint rate per population size, they have the power to investigate procedures, and can declare authorities non-compliant.

Other highlights noted in the report include:

  • Just over 88 per cent of corporate complaints received were resolved at stage one, which is on a par with the previous twelve months.
  • None of the 37 corporate complaints and five social services complaints made to the council which were reviewed by the ombudsman were upheld
  • Complaint handling training was delivered to over 120 council officers and will be rolled out to more staff this year.

The council has also reviewed and updated its feedback policy and processes, which has simplified the policy for residents and customers.

The updated processes will lead to improved reporting and recording of all compliments, comments and complaints.

Commenting on the draft report, Councillor Dimitri Batrouni, cabinet member for organisational transformation, said: “Listening to our communities, services users and partners is one of the four principles that guide the delivery of our corporate plan.

“I therefore welcome the publication of the draft report, which shows that we are improving our feedback processes.

“Complaints are not a bad thing. Knowing what we’re not getting right allows us to look at how we make improvements so that we do get them right in future.

“As an example, we know in the past that we have had issues with residents facing lengthy delays when trying to call us with council tax queries. A lot of these queries were routine and could have been dealt with if residents had access to their account information online.

“To help with this, we launched our new online council tax service earlier this year, allowing residents to view their information online and make payments or changes to their account.

“It is important that residents have the means to let us know when we’re not delivering services to the level they expect of us. We are a listening council, and I’m pleased that this report reflects that."

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