Issue - meetings

Complaints and 2020/21 LGSCO annual report

Meeting: 29/09/2021 - Cabinet (Item 59)

59 Complaints and 2020/21 LGSCO annual report pdf icon PDF 321 KB

The Ombudsman’s national report has highlighted that there is an increased strain upon Council complaints processes nationally with the Ombudsman upholding 67% of the complaints it investigates nationally.

BCP Council’s figures reflect the national picture, with the uphold rate slightly above the national average at 69%. The cost of upheld complaints is increasing with Ombudsman financial remedies costing BCP Council £5,877 in the last financial year, 2020/21.

The trends highlighted by the Ombudsman have continued so far in 2021/22 for BCP Council. The current uphold rate for investigated complaints up to end of July 2021 is at 73%, with financial remedies so far costing more than £12,750.

Work is underway to centralise complaint handling which is expected to ease pressure on frontline services and enhance the quality and speed of complaint resolution.

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED that:-

(a)          Cabinet note the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s Annual Report; and

(b)          Cabinet note the plans for future complaint handling

Voting: Unanimous

Portfolio Holder: Leader of the Council

Reason

Good public administration is more important than ever and managing complaints effectively is not simply a transactional process. The public experience of local services provides unique insight that can be harnessed as a key driver for learning and improvement.

Cabinet members should be kept informed regarding the Council’s performance in relation to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman and of the steps it is taking to improve the way the council manages complaints.

 

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'E' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.

Cabinet was advised that the Ombudsman’s national report has highlighted that there is an increased strain upon Council complaints processes nationally with the Ombudsman upholding 67% of the complaints it investigates nationally, and that BCP Council’s figures reflect the national picture, with the uphold rate slightly above the national average at 69%. The cost of upheld complaints is increasing with Ombudsman financial remedies costing BCP Council £5,877 in the last financial year, 2020/21.

Further to this Cabinet was informed that the trends highlighted by the Ombudsman have continued so far in 2021/22 for BCP Council, and that the current uphold rate for investigated complaints up to end of July 2021 is at 73%, with financial remedies so far costing more than £12,750.

Cabinet was advised that work is underway to centralise complaint handling which is expected to ease pressure on frontline services and enhance the quality and speed of complaint resolution.

RESOLVED that:-

(a)           Cabinet note the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s Annual Report; and

(b)           Cabinet note the plans for future complaint handling

Voting: Unanimous

Portfolio Holder: Leader of the Council

 


Meeting: 20/09/2021 - Overview and Scrutiny Board (Item 87)

87 Scrutiny of Complaints and 2020/21 LGSCO annual report pdf icon PDF 321 KB

To consider the Complaints and 2020/21 LGSCO annual report scheduled for Cabinet consideration on 29 September 2021.

 

The O&S Board is asked to scrutinise and comment on the report and if required make recommendations or observations as appropriate.

 

Cabinet member invited to attend for this item: Councillor Drew Mellor, Leader of the Council

 

The Cabinet report for this item is included with the agenda for consideration by the Overview and Scrutiny Board.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Policy and Performance Officer and Local Government Ombudsmen Link supported by the Chief Executive presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'D' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.

 

Officers responded to comments and requests for clarification, details included:

 

  • Clarification was provided regarding the difference in the number of complaints received in a year and determined differing due to some determinations happening the year after the complaint was received.
  • In response to a query about the number of complaints received that did not go to the LGSCO and dealt with internally, the Board was advised there was not currently a fixed system and each service had different ways of managing complaints.  The Board was advised that the number of complaints should not be seen as an indicator, but how many were resolved satisfactorily.
  • The Board was advised there were plans to centralise complaints received to provide a better overview, efficiency of monitoring and reduce pressure on front line services. 
  • The Board was advised of the difficulties which were encountered, for example encouraging and enabling complaints would increase the numbers and the different type of complaints which carried different weights such as a missed refuse collection compared to a complaint regarding a child’s Education, Health and Care Plans.
  • In response to a query from the Chairman, the Board was advised that each service had a complaints system and it was hoped that the a corporate monitoring would be in place over the next 12-18 months.

 

The Chairman summarised that the Board was pleased about the plan to centralise complaints management and thanked Board Members and Officers for their contributions.