CAMBRIDGE City Council’s Annual Complaints and Feedback retrospective report shows that during 2017-18, total complaints from customers rose from 567 the previous year to 698, although many services saw a reduction in complaints.
The main reason for the increase was that during the year there was a significant one-off rise in complaints regarding delayed waste and recycling collections or missed bins.
This occurred in the period immediately following the restructuring of waste rounds in February 2017, leading to more than 250 service complaints to be resolved that year.
The change to waste collections across Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire saw more than 130,000 households affected by changes either to their waste collection day or to the time or order their bins were emptied.
The report also highlights how during same period there were significant falls in the number of complaints received by the council relating to its Planning, Environmental Services and Housing services compared to the previous year.
Most complaints were resolved by the council within the scope of its complaints process, with only 19 complaints needing to be submitted to the Independent Complaints Investigator.
Of these, one complaint was fully upheld and eight partially upheld (including one carried over from the previous year).
The number of complaints registered were small in relation to the range of services provided by the council and the number of communications received from residents.
Last year the council was contacted by telephone or electronically more than 270,000 times, and more than 57,000 face-to-face visits by customers were recorded. As well as complaints, 140 compliments were recorded and 4,253 positive comments were received through GovMetric, the council’s customer satisfaction rating service.
Cllr Richard Robertson, Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources, said: “We are always grateful to customers who provide feedback on our services, as this plays a very important role in helping us to improve them. We welcome all comments from residents and customers, and we follow up and resolve all issues raised.
“Looking back at 2017, we would particularly apologise, as we did at the time, to those residents who were affected when the new recycling and waste rounds were introduced, which led to some interruptions in service and missed bins while our crews adapted to the new routes. We are sorry that sorting this out took longer than we and our South Cambridgeshire District Council partners would have wished.
“The specific causes which led to an increase in complaints about waste collection were addressed in 2017 and latest figures show that 99.7% of bins are collected on time. We have also found ways for the two councils to continue to improve communication with customers of this service.”
- The full Annual Complaints and Feedback Report 2017-18 is available here: https://democracy.cambridge.gov.uk/documents/s43898/Annual%20Complaints%20Report%202017-18%20FINAL.pdf