All Scilly Town Hall Complaints To Be Recorded

The Town Hall

The Town Hall

Councillors have backed changes to the Council’s complaint handling system.

Most resident grievances will now viewed by the community relations manager and press officer, George Pearson.

He’ll make sure that any complainants’ contact is acknowledged within three working days and then a response by a senior officer made within 15 days.

The system has been reviewed following a Freedom of Information request about the Council’s complaints procedures and because George has attended a Local Government Ombudsman course.

George told members that complaints would be broken down so the response could be proportionate. If someone is unhappy that their bins hadn’t been collected it would be easier just to pick up the bins, he said.

Under the current system, individual staff members have to decide how to handle correspondence. Now there will be a framework to assess whether a compliment or complaint has been received.

“The document would decide the course of action,” George explained.

Around eight official complaints are made about the Council annually but smaller grievances haven’t been centrally recorded.

Cllr Richard McCarthy agreed that a reference library of complaints could identity regular themes but he found the jargon in the policy document irritating. It referred to ‘customers’ and ‘feedback,’ he said.

Cllr Fred Ticehurst added that his bank had requested ‘feedback’ and he was uncertain what they required.

Cllr David Pearson felt common sense was all that was required in complaint handling, but chief officer Peter Lawrence-Roberts advised that it was hard to define and was, “a moveable feast.”

Cllr Amanda Martin backed bringing in the new system because she wanted complaints dealt with quickly and politely. She warned that, “we don’t want to fob people off” but added that councillors also deserve replies to complaints.

That hadn’t always happened and they had been “disenfranchised” she said.

Cllr Dudley Mumford also welcomed a, “robust complaints procedure” and wanted a review on how it had worked in six months time.



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