East Renfrewshire Council receives fewer complaints

East Renfrewshire Council says it uses complaints to help drive improvements in services.
East Renfrewshire Council says it uses complaints to help drive improvements in services.

Complaints to East Renfrewshire Council dropped by more than 250 last year, figures have revealed.

The Council dealt with 1,280 complaints between April 2018 and March 2019, compared with 1,547 in the same period the year before.

It claims complaints are used to drive improvements to services.

“The volume of complaints received has dropped significantly from the corresponding period in 2017/18,” a report to councillors revealed.

“This can be explained to some extent by the continued efforts of services to distinguish between complaints and service requests.”

Most complaints continue to be received by the Environment Department, with 66 per cent last year.

The report also reveals the Council performs well “in terms of processing frontline complaints”.

East Renfrewshire’s authority has a five day target in which to respond, with last year’s average sitting at three and half days, compared to over four days in 2017/18.

It adds: “As a result of complaints monitoring over the year a number of improvement actions have been implemented and additional resources have been put in place to help improve service delivery in the Corporate and Community Services, Education and Environment departments, as well as the Health and Social Care Partnership.”

Improvement actions included a new simplified online form for the Blue Badge service, staff training on complaints handling, clearer advice on Free School Meals and a detailed analysis of customer complaints.

A Council performance report, for the end of 2018/19, shows “excellent results across many areas”.

These include responding to noise complaints, street cleanliness, and supporting local businesses through economic development activities.

“The Council is performing well across the majority of the outcome delivery plan indicators,” the report states. “The Council continues to work towards the aim of making people’s lives better by delivering highly valued services and achieving positive outcomes for our communities.”

An autumn 2018 Citizens’ Panel survey showed 72 per cent of respondents were satisfied with council services. This was a five per cent decrease from the previous year and below the 75 per cent target.

“However this perception measure has fluctuated between 72 per cent and 79 per cent,” the report states.