DCSIMG

Complaints on the rise as cuts take their toll

Blackpool Town Hall.

Blackpool Town Hall.

Cutbacks which have put more pressure on services were today blamed for an increase in complaints about Blackpool Council.

The latest figures from the Local Government Ombudsman, which investigates complaints about local authorities in England, shows in 2013/14 there were 58 complaints and inquiries submitted to the 
authority compared to 18 the previous year.

The 58 complaints included:

n 14 in relation to adult care n 11 in relation to housing and

n eight in relation to education.

Eleven were upheld following investigation.

Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn today said town hall staff were doing their best to deliver quality services despite funding pressures.

He said: “As the amount of funding we receive from the Government continues to plummet, services inevitably suffer, response times lengthen and invariably people’s experience of the council is not always as we would wish it to be.

“There is an important economic imperative at work here – services cost money to deliver, cuts to council budgets come at a price.

“Nonetheless, we have a superb, hardworking and committed workforce who are doing their best to deliver quality services whilst under enormous pressure.”

complaints

Last year there were 15 complaints and inquiries submitted about Wyre Council, of which three were upheld, and 14 about Fylde, of which none were upheld.

The figures were up from four complaints the previous year for both councils.

A spokeswoman for Wyre Council said: “The council is proud of its excellent customer service standards which are reflected in the low numbers of complaints we receive.

“In stark contrast, we
 received 234 compliments 
last year.

“With around 110,000 residents living in the borough and over 10,000 benefits 
cases being regularly dealt with, the number of complaints is tiny in comparison, however we are always looking at ways to improve our service to residents and welcome customer feedback.”

A spokesman for Fylde Council said: “We are pleased not a single complaint about maladministration or injustice has been found in Fylde in the previous 12 months.

“Fylde Council tries to get things right first time, but where something does go wrong, we take the matter seriously and try to resolve things so they do not escalate.”

Nationally last year there were 18,436 complaints and inquiries about councils in total, with complaints about benefits and tax increasing by 26 per cent, and complaints about local authority adult social care increased by 16 per cent.

Local Government Ombudsman Dr Jane Martin said: “It is important the public has a clear route to redress when things go wrong.”

 

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