[Sarah Campbell, Customer Engagement Manager to present report.]
The Board welcomed Sarah Campbell, Customer Engagement Manager to the meeting.
An overview was provided of the Annual Social Care, Public Health and Corporate Complaints report. The Board considered Appendix 2, which highlighted Stage 1 Annual Corporate Complaints. There had been a 36% decrease in stage 1 corporate complaints compared to the same time the previous year and out of the 185 received at stage 1, 54 were upheld. A customer could then escalate to stage 2 if they remained dissatisfied and there had been 19 stage 2 complaints of which 4 had been upheld.
The Board considered Appendix 1 to the report which dealt with Childrens’ Services. There was a 17% decrease in stage 1 complaints. There were 58 stage 1 complaints and 8 were upheld and 26 partially upheld. No stage 2 or 3 statutory cases had been received.
In relation to Adults and Public Health there was again a decrease of 28%, there were 53 stage 1 complaints of which 3 were upheld and 27 partially upheld.
The Board considered the Ombudsman enquiries that had been received. During 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 the council received 10 Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman enquiries, this was in comparison to 26 the previous year. The Ombudsman published annual complaint statistics for each local authority in England. The Ombudsman received 61 complaints and enquiries in 2019/20 in relation to the City of Wolverhampton Council, this was in comparison to 71 complaints and enquiries received during 2018/19. From the 61 enquiries received from the Ombudsman, 12 detailed investigations were carried out in comparison to 19 detailed investigations received for 2018/19. Out of the 12 detailed investigations carried out, the Ombudsman had recorded seven (58%) findings of fault (upheld) for the council during 2019/20 (this compared to an average of 67% in similar authorities).
The annual report confirmed that the council was 100% compliant with carrying out the Ombudsman’s upheld recommendations. The report also highlighted where things had gone wrong and heads of service, managers and the customer feedback team were required to identify these areas, implement remedies and review processes/procedures where necessary.
When a complaint was upheld (council at fault) and the findings of a subsequent investigation was for a financial remedy, change to policy or service delivery, the Customer Feedback Team produced an action plan report. Recommendations within these reports were agreed with appropriate Heads of Service and shared with the relevant Service Manager/Director to ensure appropriate remedies and changes to policy/service delivery were implemented.
The Board welcomed the information in the report and the fact that the figures were reducing but considered that targets during a pandemic could be challenging and that it was vital that complaints regarding childrens’ services, adults’ services and public health were acted on with haste and requested assurance that this was the case. It was confirmed that this was the case and that all enquires were being dealt with as would normally be the case.
The Board noted The Council’s statistics in relation to other local authorities but queried whether there was any duplication in complaints from previous years. It was confirmed that if there were any trends or concerns then these were addressed. It was stated that the data was interrogated for any such trends. At the moment there were not any identified duplicated complaints.
The Board queried the context for some of the information such as the number of staff who had received training and any trends associated with the outcomes of the complaints that were being discussed.
The Board queried where the greatest number of complaints came from. It was noted that the top trends for corporate complaints were waste services, council tax and waste services. There had been no increase in tree enquiries.
The Board also noted that a number of compliments had also been received.
The Panel thanked the Customer Engagement Manager for the report.
Resolved: That the report be received and noted.