CAMBRIDGE City Council is using feedback from residents to identify how it can improve the services they receive.
During 2018-19, over 250,000 telephone calls and electronic contacts were received from residents and over 55,000 face to face visits were recorded at the council’s Customer Service Centre.
The council received 1,161 complaints during that period and 7,734 positive comments through GovMetric, a national customer satisfaction rating system.
Overall, the number of complaints increased compared with the previous year. An annual report on the number and type of complaints and feedback received by the council in 2018-19 sets out what has happened in each service to respond to these complaints and to put in place actions to prevent them re-occurring.
The annual report shows that the largest number of recorded complaints came to the Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service. On the performance of the council’s waste and recycling service, it collects around 3.8 million bins in the city each year.
Whilst performance improved significantly in 2018 compared to 2017, with 99.8% of bins collected as planned, a new more consistent and rigorous approach to recording led to an increased 526 complaints being recorded, 46% of the total complaints received by the council.
This also means that the 2018-19 complaint figures there are not directly comparable with previous years. A number of waste and recycling complaints were also associated with changes to how missed bins are collected and to the collection of green waste in the winter.
Cllr Richard Robertson, Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources, said “It’s important that we listen to residents when we get something wrong, and take steps to put things right, and that’s what we are doing, for instance through recruiting and investing in more training and support for staff in our Planning Service and our housing repairs team.
“We also know that some residents don’t like it when we change policies, and we need to ensure that when we do make a change, we communicate the changes that are coming and the reasons for those.
“We also know that the vast majority of services are performing well – the waste service, for instance, collects 14,600 bins in the city each day, with an average of only two complaints per day, so while we are not complacent, we are grateful to the staff who deliver this service in all weathers, all year round.
“Lessons been learnt in waste and recycling about the need to better communicate changes to services for residents, but that should not detract from the significant overall improvement in waste and recycling last year, due to the combined efforts of every single member of that team.”
The Annual Complaints Report is to be discussed at the council’s Civic Affairs Committee on Wednesday 9 October and is due to be published on the council’s website after that.