Issue - meetings

Review of the Corporate Complaints Policy

Meeting: 16/02/2021 - Cabinet (Item 101)

101 Review of the Corporate Complaints Policy pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Additional documents:


As detailed in the recommendations.


Councillor Mullin introduced the report on the new Concerns and Complaints Policy for the Council, based on a model complaints handling procedure for public service providers in Wales.


            The report also included a new Managing Customer Contact Policy which provided guidance to employees on how to manage unacceptable behaviour from customers.


The Customer Contact Service Manager explained that the Concerns and Complaints Policy had been in place since it was issued by Welsh Government in 2011 and since that time the Ombudsman had noted that a diverse range of complaints practices had emerged across Wales.  The Ombudsman’s new guidance aimed to bring practices back into broad alignment, providing basic standards, a common language and a set of principles to underpin how complaints were handled throughout public services.


The proposed Concerns and Complaints Policy complied with the statement of principles and had been modified to the extent that it was relevant to the culture and behaviour Flintshire wanted to promote i.e. an emphasis on treating people fairly and with respect, and listening to our conscience and acting with integrity.


The main changes were:


·         Complainants would be asked to tell the Council about their concern within six months – because it was best to look into concerns whilst the issues were fresh;

·         A greater emphasis on learning from complaints to improve processes and procedures – Chief Officers would receive quarterly performance reports;

·         Where there was a need for change (based on trend analysis) the relevant senior manager would be asked to develop an action plan setting out what would be done, who would do it and when; and

·         Sharing of anonymised complaint information.


 A report on complaints would be submitted to Cabinet and Audit Committee half yearly and annually to Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee. 


The Managing Customer Contact Policy provided clear guidance to employees on how to manage the very small number of cases where the actions or behaviour of a customer challenged the ability to deliver an effective service to all.  The new Policy applied to all customers who had requested a service or made a complaint, or any other person acting on their behalf.  The policy sought to protect employees from aggressive, abusive or offensive behaviour and unreasonable demands and persistence.


            In response to a question from Councillor Banks, the Customer Contact Service Manager explained that social media was a difficult area to control.  Advice had been issued to a small number of people where their behaviour was deemed unacceptable and more work would be undertaken to establish what other measure could be introduced to further support and protect employees.




(a)       That the Concerns and Complaints Policy for implementation on 1st April 2021 be approved;


(b)       That the Managing Customer Contact Policy for implementation on 1st April 2021 be approved; and


(c)        That the performance reporting timetable be supported.