Report of Corporate Director, Strategy and Resources
Vanessa Jenkins, Customer Experience Lead and Ian Hillier, Complaints and Mediation Officer presented the Complaints Annual Assurance report to the committee, which included the Local Government Ombudsman Annual letter for 2018-19. They highlighted the following points during discussion and in answer to questions from the Committee:
(a) The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) publishes an annual report on complaints and enquiries about Local Authorities. This year this report included data on compliance with recommendations it had made and it included a number of cases where the authority had provided a satisfactory remedy before the complaint reached the LGO;
(b) 104 complaints were received by the LGO about Nottingham City Council from 1st April 2018 to 31st March 2019. 59 resulted in investigations and of those 59, 26 resulted in detailed investigations by the LGO, 18 of these were upheld. 86% of Social care complaints were upheld, 100% of education strategy complains and 29% of Have your say complaints;
(c) 80% of complaints about adults’ and children’s social care services investigated under the complaints procedures did not have any aspect of the complaint upheld. The Ombudsman often decides there is no evidence of fault and decides not to investigate, but where it sees evidence of potential fault it investigates; therefore, the percentage of investigated complaints that are upheld by the Ombudsman is always likely to be high. Furthermore, the Ombudsman also upholds complaints it investigates that have already been upheld under the council’s own complaints procedures;
(d) Waste is the area that has attracted the most complaints, mostly around repeat missed bin collections. This is unsurprising as waste collection affects all citizens within Nottingham City;
(e) The Have Your Say Team send monthly reports to Heads of Service which allows them to establish trends and monitor performance. Only 2% of complaints received by the Council are upheld by the Ombudsman, which indicates that the internal process is working efficiently to resolve complaints;
(f) Complaints about social care follow a different process and are dealt with under very strict statutory guidelines. Complaints about adult social care were up 40% on the previous year, whereas complaints about children’s social care showed a 30% decrease. Only 3% of complaints received by the Council about adult social care services were upheld by the LGO;
(g) The increase in complaints in adult social care is through to be around the new Transport policy and reductions in care packages;
(h) Complaints about school appeals go straight to the LGO without first going through a local process of resolution. These appeals are outside of both the Have Your Say and social care complaints procedures. Following the publication of a Public Report dated May 2018 the School Admissions and School Appeals teams complied with recommendations made in the LGO’s report resolving the case. This is reflected in NCC’s 100% compliance with recommendation.
The Audit Committee noted the information within the published report and within the presentation.
Due to time pressures in an change to the published agenda the Audit Committee agreed to take item 8, Accounts Update, as the next item.