The Assistant Director of Housing Management & Enforcement and the Customer Services Manager provided Members with an overview of the Council’s performance for Q1 & Q2 2022/23, in relation to the Council’s customer standards and complaints.
The report presented followed the usual format but it was noted that following the change in delivery for customer standards and complaints that the reports would now be available on a more frequent, quarterly basis. Furthermore, following feedback from Members at the last meeting, data for the compliments and stage 1 complaints was now presented in more of a summary format which would hopefully make the data more accessible to Members and officers.
Officers noted the headline detail in the cover report and then presented each of the appendices in turn.
Customer Service Standards (Appendix 1)
Most service areas except for Contact Centres had met the required standards in relation to telephone calls, with Contact Centres just 1% below target. Live Chat data had now also been added to the report as previously discussed with Members. A summary of performance for MP Enquiries had also been added and it was noted that the volume of enquiries was up by 50%. To try alleviate pressure in dealing with this, officers were identifying those enquires that could have come as a customer service request and were raising them via contact centre rather than an MP enquiry.
Corporate Telephone Standards (Appendix 2)
The data presented reflected both internal and direct dial external calls received by the service areas. The performance for Q1 and Q2 was slightly below standard. The table also included data on abandoned calls – a new feature of the report. The target for this indicator had initially been set at 5% but all service areas were currently exceeding this, so it was noted that this would be reviewed again at Q3 with the target potentially revised to more accurately reflect call management by service areas.
Compliments, Comments and Complaints
Officers went through the summary of performance and then referred to the appendices in more detail.
Compliments (Appendix 3A)
This data was now being presented in a summarised format. In total 78 written compliments were received during Q1 (40) and Q2 (38), with a number of the compliments relating to more than one service area.
Comments (Appendix 3B)
This data was now being presented in a summarised format. A total of 10 had been received by the end of Q2 with a number of the compliments relating to more than one service area. In total this was Q1 (7) and Q2 (3). 100% (all 10) had been acknowledged and passed to the respective department within the target time of 3 working days, for consideration when reviewing their service.
Informal Complaints (Frontline resolution stage 1) (Appendix 3C)
The data showed the number of Frontline Resolution complaints received by the Contact Centre service, in total 159 complaints had been recorded on the Customer Information System for the period (Q1 70 and Q2 89). 91% of which had been responded to within the customer service standard of 3 working days.
The service area with the highest number of complaints was refuse. The new method of analysing and presenting the data had enabled officers to more easily identify hotspot areas where targeted improvement work and monitoring could take place.
Formal Investigation (stage two) (Appendix 3D) and MP Enquires (Appendix 3E)
The appendices detailed the number of Formal Investigation complaints and MP enquiries received by department. 38 formal complaints (Q1 24 and Q2 14) were received – the officer noted that this had been reported inaccurately in the report and the figures had been transposed in error. Furthermore, each of the 3 blank cells for August should read as ‘1’ in each of the rows.
There had also been 112 MP enquiries (Q1 38 and Q2 74) during this period. 83% of formal complaints and 91% of MP enquiries were responded to within the customer service standard of 15 working days. Officers hoped to gain further clarity from the MP’s office as to the reasons for the significant increase and to try and assist them to send enquires via the appropriate channel and to the correct authority. It was noted there had been instances where enquires had been submitted for issues out of the Council’s control.
Internal Review (stage three) (Appendix 3F)
Appendix 3 (F) showed the number of stage three complaints received for the period by department. These had been complainants who had already made a stage two complaint and still felt dissatisfied. During this period, 19 stage three complaints had been received (Q1 13 and Q2 6), all of which had been responded to within the standard of 20 working days.
Ombudsman (Appendix 3G)
The table showed the status of Ombudsman complaints received for Q1/Q2 as at 30th September 2022. During this period only 1 case had been received, with no fault found.
Following presentation by officers, Committee discussed the report and raised the following issues:
A Member noted that in the report it was stated that a complaint over drainage was sent through to Leisure services and queried if this was the correct service for referral.
Officers stated that this was possibly an error in the report and would check and report back.
With regard to waste collection, a Member noted that in their Ward a number of residents were not putting their bins out by the required time so collection was being missed.
A number of Members noted that they were aware of contamination and that affected bins were usually highlighted with a sticker. They questioned whether the changes to the eligible items for the Red Bin had confused residents and requested if clarification could be sought from the Assistant Director Streetscene about how they could get information to share with residents.
The Customer Services Manager noted that the Education Officer had spent time at The Arc recently doing face-to-face campaigning with residents to raise awareness of the rules. The officer agreed to enquire if this service could be rolled out across all Contact Centres and possibly within village halls to further raise awareness.
A Member noted that contamination rates had been discussed previously at a Council meeting and the rates had been as high as 50% in some cases.
The officer noted that currently there was a system in place whereby in instances of continued contamination the Red Bin was removed completely.
A Member noted that a number of residents moving in to the new estates within Bolsover were from out of the area and likely unfamiliar with the local recycling policy and the rules for each bin.
A Member queried if there could be an inspector type role that would work alongside refuse collections to speak to households directly where issues were found. Furthermore, they queried whether the Council was clear on its current policy and if households that did not comply could be fined.
In response it was confirmed that there was a local policy in place and it had been found that repeat messaging and awareness raising was the most effective approach. The officer confirmed that the question regarding fines would be raised with the relevant Assistant Director.
Moved by Councillor Ray Heffer and seconded by Councillor Andrew Joesbury
RESOLVED that the overall performance on Customer Service Standards and Compliments, Comments and Complaints be noted.
(Assistant Director of Housing Management & Enforcement/
Customer Services Manager)
**Post meeting clarification from Assistant Director of Streetscene
Current contamination rates average 15%, not 50% as stated in the meeting. This was considered good in comparison to more urban dense areas such as neighbouring cities operating around 40-50% contamination.
A further note on the issues raised would be circulated to Members as requested.