Council set to review complaint procedures

Blackpool Town Hall
Blackpool Town Hall
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TOWN hall chiefs are to overhaul their complaints procedures after admitting there is no clear way for residents to air their grievances.

An investigation by Blackpool Council also found apologies, when something had gone wrong, were not always good enough.

Coun Debbie Coleman

Coun Debbie Coleman

Now it is being proposed to create a central complaints system. It is also being recommended an annual complaints report is produced.

A year-long scrutiny into the issue looked at the way complaints were currently logged and managed.

It found there was no single policy and no assurances issues were dealt with within an appropriate time frame and to a satisfactory level.

The response to upheld grievances was also found to be lacking.

A report compiled by councillors says: “The response letters to upheld complaints were considered by the panel.

“It was considered the apologies sent to complainants were not always sufficient and did not expressly apologise for any action or wrong caused.

“The panel considered that, if there was blame to be acknowledged, then it should be clearly stated in the apology to complainants.”

Coun Debbie Coleman (pictured), who led the scrutiny, said: “When we began to look into the issue, the procedure was all over the place. We are now looking at a new IT set up that hopefully will be a lot better because it will provide a single place where all complaints can be filed.

“This will help the council improve its services to residents. If it flags up something serious, we can look at it as a scrutiny.”

The report adds the improved system would be a useful tool to enable the council to establish whether persistent complaints were due to a lack of action or because of unreasonable behaviour.

Bruce Allen, of the Mereside Tenants and Residents Association, said: “At the moment there is a code of silence between the different council departments.

“If you raise a grievance you just get passed from one department to another. So this is well overdue.”

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