Hampshire County Council

Policy and Resources Policy Review Committee

Item 9

29 May 2003

Compliments, complaints and feedback monitoring

Report of the County Treasurer

Contact: Paul Carey-Kent, ext 7525

1. Background

1.1 The County Council's complaints policy requires departments to report the appropriate policy review committee on their monitoring of complaints and compliments. This report covers the period 2002/03 for County Treasurers.

1.2 These results need to be seen in the context of the department's overall strategy to ensure good communication and feedback from customers. Accordingly these themes are picked up.

2. Feedback context

2.1 The department uses both proactive and reactive means of obtaining feedback from both customers and staff. The main ones are:

2.2 Complaints are recognised as valuable information that helps the department to identify opportunities for improvement. Each complaint is investigated by the relevant service manager and an appropriate response made to the customer. Where a problem is revealed, consideration is given not just to rectifying action but also to system change as appropriate in order to prevent a recurrence. Appendix A gives a few examples of complaints leading to systems improvement, extracted from QRMT reports.

3. Difficult customers

3.1 There has been an increase in abusive telephone calls in recent years, for example from staff frustrated by pay issues which were blamed on payroll systems whatever the cause. Training has taken place to help Treasurer's staff to deal with this, and consideration is also being given to whether some calls might be recorded.

4. Complaints and compliments monitoring 2002/03

4.1 This year was a particularly challenging one in terms of customer service due to the systems changes occurring, in particular with the implementation of a new payroll system, SAP, which was completed during the year. It was pleasing to note, therefore, that complaints were reduced compared with 2001/02 (173 in 2002/03 compared with 205 in 2001/02) and shows signs of reducing to the levels before the complications of a new IT system and that in particular the number of complaints in the fourth quarter was low in spite of the transfer of all teaching staff onto the new payroll with effect from January 2003.

4.2 Compliments are also recorded, although it is in their nature that as they do not require corrective action, they receive less attention and are less likely to be captured formally. Efforts are being made to improve on this. The breakdown of complaints shows that 61% were from internal customers and 39% from external customers. Appendix B sets out in more detail the compliments and complaints received.

4.3 One complaint was referred to the ombudsmen during the year 2002/03. This was a Blue Badge appeal, the outcome was to uphold the original decision not to offer a Blue Badge.

3.2 None of the complaints reported were considered to have a racial element to them.

3 Conclusions

3.2 Good systems are in place to record and investigate customer complaints. The opportunity is taken to learn from the complaints and where appropriate improvement actions are taken.

Recommendation

That this report is noted. That the PRC continues to receive an annual report on compliments and complaints within the County Treasurer's department.

Section 100 D - Local Government Act 1972 - background papers

The following documents disclose facts or matters on which this report, or an important part of it, is based and has been relied upon to a material extent in the preparation of this report.

NB the list excludes:

Published works.

Documents which disclose exempt or confidential information as defined in the Act.

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