Compliments to council exceed complaints by 3-1

COMPLIMENTS to Fenland District Council are out numbering complaints by a ratio of 3 to 1, says a new study.

Last year the council received 799 compliments compared to 266 complaints, says the report to be considered on Tuesday by the overview and scrutiny policy panel.

This compared to 751 compliments against 276 complaints in 2008-9, and 782 compliments and 317 complaints the year before.

The council runs a 3Cs department – correspondence, compliments and complaints- and Avison Warren, the 3Cs co-ordinator and Sarah Clark, customer access manager, have compiled the report.

“Over the past three years 3Cs have worked to see a decrease in the number of stage one complaints received by 16 per cent,” they say.

The 3Cs policy was set up five years ago and “is a vital access channel for the public to report to the council issues they face or ideas on improving the service and to report when something has worked well.”

Issues can be raised in confidence and the Local Government Ombudsman can be asked to review complaints, says the report.

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“It helps maintain and improve customer satisfaction levels,” says the report which notes that early intervention by the 3Cs team has seen ombudsman complaints drop by 56 per cent over the past three years.

The council has also drawn up guidelines to handle what they term “persistent complainers- the small number of customers who insist on pursuing complaints in a way that can either impede their investigation or can have a significant resource issue”.

Special guidelines drawn up to deal with persistent complainers who are categorised as those whose actions are obsessive, persistent , harassing, prolific, repetitious and “an insistence on pursuing unmeritorious complaints.”

Part of the restrictions placed on these complainants mean they can only communicate with one named member of staff and their contact is restricted.

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