Council learns from 13,140 comments given by customers on its performance

News release from 11 September 2017, 3:21pm

CAMBRIDGE City Council received 13,140 comments on its services in the past year, the majority of which (7,420) were positive.

The comments were recorded in GovMetric, a customer satisfaction rating system the council introduced to make it easier for customers to have their say quickly and easily.

The figures are included in the council’s annual compliments and complaints report to be presented to councillors at Civic Affairs Committee on 13 September.

The council received over 300,000 telephone and email contacts from customers in the past year, while 55,000 face to face visits were recorded at the Customer Service Centre on Regent Street.

Out of hundreds of thousands of contacts the council received 567 complaints. Although the figures have fluctuated over the years, the number of complaints recorded is similar to that recorded in the previous year when 559 complaints were made.

In a similar pattern to previous years, most complaints relate to two frontline services - waste collection and repairs to council homes.

The waste collection service has been establishing itself following a move to a shared service with neighbouring South Cambridgeshire District Council including the introduction of new bin collection routes.

The repairs service has undergone significant changes in the past two years with staff structures reorganised.

Despite these changes and the increasing financial pressure on the council, most complaints were resolved by the council within the scope of its complaints process. Only 16 complaints were referred to the Local Government Ombudsman who upheld just three of those.

The report also identifies topics and trends among complaints and shows how the council has responded to them and tried to put things right in order to improve services to customers.

Cllr Richard Robertson, Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources, said: “We have made it easier for customers to give us feedback and improved the way we monitor and act on that feedback.

“We always welcome customer comments, positive or otherwise, so that we can learn from them and improve the way we do things.

“Cambridge has a growing population of 125,000 residents so it is unsurprising that the number of complaints has risen slightly from 559 in 2015-16 up to 567 complaints in the past 12 months, particularly given the significant changes to some of our services and the growing pressure on resources that we face.

Cllr Robertson added: “Put in the context of hundreds of thousands of customer contacts it is only realistic to expect a number of complaints.

“Our commitment to customers is that when we do receive a complaint, we always take it seriously, look into the detail, try to address it as quickly as we can and learn from any mistakes.

“We are also working hard to focus on those areas that generated the most complaints this year and to make sure all complaints are handled efficiently.”