Introduction from the council's chief executive, Annemarie O'Donnell
This report provides information on customer complaints handled between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016 by Glasgow City Council and its associated organisations.
We are committed to providing high quality services to you, our customers. Sometimes, though, things do go wrong and when that happens, or if you are dissatisfied with a service provided, please tell us so we can try and put it right. We take complaints about our services seriously and always deal with them in confidence.
While we're always disappointed to learn of customer dissatisfaction with a service provided by the council, we value complaints and use information from them to help improve the way we do things. This can include staff training, delivering services differently or simply fixing a problem. When recording a customer complaint, our staff are encouraged to look at the detail to see if there is an opportunity to improve the way we deliver a service. Senior officials in the council are committed to this idea of 'learning from complaints.'
In the year ended March 31, 2016 the council family of organisations saw a 27 per cent rise in the number of complaints received. This was against the backdrop of continuing financial pressures on local authority budgets. Complaints reached their highest level over the summer months of 2015 and I am pleased to say levels have declined overall during the first part of 2016. Additionally, our Transforming Glasgow project is reshaping the way we deliver services to the benefit of citizens, businesses and visitors.
Glasgow City Council, along with all other Scottish local government authorities, introduced a completely new complaints procedure in 2013, to help ensure customers can give us their feedback in a variety of easily accessible ways. This report covers the second full year of statistics from that new procedure and tells you about our complaints process, how we received complaints and how we dealt with them compared with a series of performance indicators developed by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman. The report includes data on the council and its associated organisations.
Glasgow City Council, and its associated organisations, operates a two stage complaints' handling procedure (CHP). This has been in place since 3 June 2013 and is mandated to all local authorities in Scotland, as agreed with and defined by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO).
The vast majority of complaints (more than 91 per cent in 2015-16) dealt with by the council are resolved at the initial stage of the procedure, referred to as "frontline resolution." These complaints have a Service Level Agreement of five working days to provide a response to the complainant.
Less than ten per cent of the complaints we receive are escalated to the second stage of the CHP, either because they are more complex in nature and cannot reasonably be answered within five days, or they involve a number of different services the council provides, where it can take more than five days to co-ordinate a response to customers. In these cases, referred to by us as being dealt with at the "investigation" stage, the Service Level Agreement is that a response will be issued within 20 working days.
Where there are exceptions to this, and we require additional time to investigate a complaint fully, an extension to the SLA is usually agreed with the complainant. In some cases, where we are unable to agree an extension with the customer, we would record the case as having gone over the SLA.
A complaint case is reviewed at Frontline and Investigation stages; upon completion of the review one of the following principle outcomes is reached:
The customer can also withdraw their complaint but this is not shown in the table below. An additional number of complaints are transferred to other processes for resolution, where they cannot be dealt with under the CHP, for example appeals against Fixed Penalty Notices (not shown below).
The current CHP was introduced across the Glasgow Family of organisations on 3 June 2013 and includes all council departments (excluding Social Work Services who have a different complaints' handling procedure).
The following table provides a summary of the complaints resolved from 1 April 2015 until 31 March 2016, and the outcomes recorded.
Table 1: Number of complaints received and closed in the year:
Average time taken to resolve complaints:
Stage 1 - 6 days (our Service Level Agreement is 5 days)
Stage 2 - 20 days (our Service Level Agreement is 20 days)
Total number of complaints closed
(some complaints received during 2014/15 were not closed until
Total number of complaints received
Table 2: Outcomes of complaints closed in the year:
Queries about the Complaints' Handling Procedure should be directed to the council's Customer Care Team.