Issue - meetings
Public Services Ombudsman for Wales
Meeting: 22/10/2019 - Cabinet (Item 77)
To receive verbal reports from independent members of the Committee on their visits to the following councils:
As detailed in the recommendations.
Councillor Mullin introduced the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales Annual Letter 2018/19 report which provided details of the annual performance of the Council in relation to complaints against services which were received and investigated by the Ombudsman during 2018/19.
The Chief Officer (Governance) explained that the number of complaints received by the Ombudsman about local authorities across Wales increased from 794 to 912 in 2018/19. However, the Ombudsman was pleased that local authorities continued to work with his office to resolve many of the complaints at an early stage.
Appended to the report was a full copy of the Annual Letter, detailing the Council’s performance and comparative data.
The Council was undertaking work to reduce the number of complaints to the Ombudsman and planned to undertake further action as soon as the outcome of the Ombudsman’s current consultation on the principles and procedures relating to the new powers created by the Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Act 2019 were known.
The Council’s actions included:
· Targeted training sessions with Planning officers to learn lessons from Ombudsman decisions over the last 12 months;
· A review of the Council’s complaints procedure in response to the Customer Standards Authority (Wales) model concerns and complaints policy for public providers in Wales;
· Redesigned workforce training to support officers to effectively resolve complaints first time;
· Improving the quality of complaint responses through the introduction of house-style and improved guidance for officers;
· Training for Town and Community Councils to promote awareness and the importance of the Code of Conduct where there is evidence of conflict between its members to help reset the boundaries of behaviour for its members;
· Timely performance data for distribution and discussion at senior departmental meetings; and
· Working with Councils from across North Wales and the Ombudsman to collectively record complaints data which may be used to drive improvement in public service for citizens in Wales.
(a) That the annual performance of the Council and the number of complaints resolved at an early stage be noted;
(b) That the actions to reduce the number of complaints to the Ombudsman’s office be supported; and
(c) That a review of the Council’s complaints procedure upon receipt of the
Complaints Standards Authority (Wales) model concerns and complaints policy for public service providers in Wales be supported.