Council Sees Drop in Corporate Complaints

Posted by: Press Team on 27 November 2023 10:19

The number of complaints made about the quality of services provided by South Tyneside Council continues to fall, Members will be told this week.

A report to the Borough Council says that the overwhelming majority (93 per cent) of complaints are dealt with and closed at the first stage of the complaints process with only a very small number being escalated to the local government ombudsman.

Of the six cases investigated by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman between April 2022 and March 2023, only four (67 per cent) were upheld, compared to a national average of 77 per cent for similar organisations.

In his report the independent Chair of the Council's Standards Committee, Professor Grahame Wright, highlights that the Council also receives many compliments for the services it provides although there is always scope for improvement.

In his report, Professor Wright also acknowledges that a new piece of computer software is currently being explored which would assist with the recording of complaints and compliments while tracking the length of time taken to handle them which will strengthen performance management processes and service improvement.

The report also highlights that 220 Code of Conduct complaints were received since January 2020 about alleged breaches of the Members' Code of Conduct. The vast majority of these (81 per cent) have been closed, either because the complaint was withdrawn or an informal resolution was achieved. Although five hearings have been held, the report adds that the number of outstanding Code of Conduct complaints is unacceptable. Workshops and training sessions have also been offered to ensure councillors understand the standards framework.

Councillor Jane Carter, the Cabinet Member on Standards Committee, said: "The report is further evidence that the Council is continuing to be guided by its PROUD values - namely to be Professional, Respectful, Open and honest, Understanding and engaging, and Deliver what it says it will. These PROUD values are embedded into the heart of the Council's culture to guide both officers and Members in supporting communities through a wide range of public services."

Professor Grahame Wright, the independent Chairman of the Standards Committee, said: "The Standards Committee exists to enhance the quality of its service provision and raise the ethical standards of debate and behaviour exhibited by its councillors.

"The complaints process is an essential part of our local democracy. It is vital that members of the public feel confident that if they make a complaint against the Council, it will be considered in a fair and reasonable manner."

 

 

Last modified: 27 November 2023 10:22