Annual customer feedback report

Our annual customer feedback report provides us, our partners and members of the public with important information on what our customers have told us about their expectations and experiences of the services they've received during 2019-20.

This report looks at all of the complaints, compliments and comments that have been recorded by us during the period 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020, including those complaints received about Adult and Children Social Care services.

We have two complaints procedures: the management of customer feedback (which has two stages) and the management of children's social care procedures (which has three stages). All complaints that don't relate to children's social care are processed through the first procedure. For more information on either of these procedures please see our complaints and compliments webpage.

Compliments and complaints we received

  • We received a total of 369 compliments.
  • We received 275 complaints and agreed that there were things we could improve upon for 163 of these.
  • We listen to what our customers say and learn when things go wrong.
  • We received 41 ombudsman contacts.

Core Services directorate

This directorate provides both internal and external services that are core to how we operate. These include:

  • Finance (such as payments and council tax)
  • Human Resources (services for employees)
  • Business Improvement and Intelligence
  • Communications
  • Customer, Information and Digital Services
  • Legal (such as law and compliance)
  • Governance, Members and Business Support

There are 30+ teams in this directorate.

Compliments and complaints

  • Core Services received 45 compliments this year. This is an increase from last year.

  • The Business Improvement, Human Resources and Communications business unit received 19 compliments; the highest for this directorate.

  • 79 complaints were received. This is an increase from last year, although 22 of these were withdrawn. Benefits and Taxation within the Finance business unit received the most complaints (40 out of 57).

  • We resolved 33 of the remaining 57 complaints quickly and 24 required a formal investigation.

  • Processes and procedures were the main areas where customers told us they were unhappy.

  • There were six Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman contacts. Three required no further action as considered resolved and three required the customer to be contacted.

  • No complaints were made through an advocate.

Summary

Early resolutions Outcomes Resolutions Timescales
33 Inconclusive: 8

Not upheld: 16

Partially upheld: 17

Upheld: 15

Pending: 1

Withdrawn: 22
58% of complaints were resolved early and those requiring formal investigation were resolved by providing an explanation. We resolved 87% of both early resolution and formal complaints requiring investigation within agreed timescales.

Customer feedback

Here are some examples of compliments we received from customers:

Organisation and Workforce Improvement

"I have just completed the Future Carers course and I cannot sing their praises enough. It was genius the way it was organised, and not once did I feel I didn’t want to attend. I am so pleased that I am getting after care."

Human Resources and Business Support

"All going really well with the DBS checks; it has been a really smooth transition and your team could not have been more helpful."

Place directorate

This directorate provides services that help to transform the borough, particularly in the creation of a thriving and vibrant economy, and also enabling strong and resilient communities. The types of services this includes are:

  • Environment and Transport, such as:
    • Waste Management
    • Parks
    • Highways and Engineering
    • Neighbourhood Services
    • Bereavement Services
    • Home-to-school Transport

  • Regeneration and Culture, such as:
    • Planning and re-design of the town centre and principal towns
    • Museums and visitor sites
    • Housing and energy
    • Employment and skills
    • Transportation

There are 45+ teams in this directorate.

Compliments and complaints

  • Place received 174 compliments this year. This is a decrease from last year’s figure of 195.

  •  The Environment and Transport business unit received 148 compliments; the highest for this directorate.

  • 140 complaints were received. This is less than last year. 48 of these were withdrawn. Waste Management within the Environment and Transport business unit received the most complaints (71 out of 92).

  • We resolved 47 of the remaining 92 complaints quickly and 45 required a formal investigation. Four complaints progressed to stage two corporate reviews.

  • Processes and procedures, communication and consultation, and workforce were the main areas where customers reported being unhappy.

  • There were 12 Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman contacts. Nine required no further action as they were considered resolved. There was one ‘other’ remedy and two are new.

  • No complaints were made through an advocate.

Summary

Early resolutions Outcomes Resolutions Timescales
47 Inconclusive: 10

Not upheld: 19

Partially upheld: 18

Upheld: 38

Pending: 7

Withdrawn: 48
52% of complaints that were resolved early and those requiring formal investigation were resolved by providing an explanation. We resolved 81% of both early resolution and formal complaints requiring investigation within agreed timescales.

Customer feedback

Here are some examples of compliments we received from customers:

Environment and Transport – Waste and Recycling

"I thought that I had thrown my car and house keys in with a load of timber, paper and general rubbish into one of the containers. I would like to praise the lads who were very calm and quick in reacting to my predicament. The outcome was that they were in my sweatshirt pocket; very embarrassing for me, but the lads were great!"

Planning, Policy and Building Control

"Just wanted to say a big thank you for all your hard work and communication. Brilliant news!"

Children's Services directorate

This directorate provides services that relate specifically to children and young people of the borough. These include:

  • Education (such as education welfare and attendance)
  • Early Start (such as childcare)
  • Prevention (such as family centres)
  • Children's Social Care and Safeguarding

There are 15+ teams in this directorate.

Compliments and complaints

  • Children’s Services received 23 compliments this year. This is a decrease from the 83 last year, however, results for last year included numbers for Adult Social Care which is now now in the Adults and Communities directorate.

  • The Education, Early Start and Prevention team received 14 compliments; the highest for this directorate.

  • 111 complaints were received; this is an increase from last year. 33 of these were withdrawn. Education, Early Start and Prevention within the Children’s Services business unit received the most complaints (41 out of 78).

  • We resolved 20 of the remaining 78 complaints quickly and 58 required a formal investigation. There were three stage two Children’s Social Care complaint investigations and one stage three Children’s Social Care Panel investigation.

  • Processes and procedures, communication and consultation, and workforce were the main areas where customers reported being unhappy.

  • There were eight Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman contacts. Two required no further action as considered resolved, one required the customer to be contacted, one was to provide compensation, one ‘other’ remedy, and two are pending.

  • Five complaints were made through an advocate.

Summary

Early resolutions Outcomes Resolutions Timescales
20 Inconclusive: 1

Not upheld: 26

Partially upheld: 36

Upheld: 15

Pending: 0

Withdrawn: 33
26% of complaints that were resolved early and those requiring formal investigation were resolved by providing an explanation. We resolved 80% of early resolution and formal complaints requiring investigation within agreed timescales.

Customer feedback

Here are some examples of compliments we received from customers:

Education Early Start and Prevention

"Just wanted to say a big thank you for your help with the EHC plan. It’s been a long hard journey,
so to have the final draft in my hands this week really does feel great."

Children’s Social Care

"I just wanted to drop you an email to thank you for all your work, time and patience. We wouldn’t have the security we have today without you. We are forever grateful for what you have done for us, and we will never, ever forget you! You are an amazing person who genuinely cares about your job and it shows with how you bend over backwards to keep children safe from harm. We will forever owe his precious little life to you. Wishing you all the best and take care."

Adults and Communities directorate

This directorate services the communities within the borough and includes services such as:

  • Customer Services (such as libraries, customer support and contact centres)
  • Stronger, Safer and Healthier Communities (such as safer neighbourhoods and enforcement)
  • Adult Social Care and health

There are 35+ teams in this directorate.

Compliments and complaints

  • Adults and Communities received 109 compliments this year. This is a decrease from the 175 recorded last year, however there have been changes to the type of services within this directorate.

  • The Adult Social Care and Wellbeing business unit received 68 compliments; the highest for this directorate.

  • 64 complaints were received; this is an increase from last year. 19 of these were withdrawn. The Community Safety service within the Stronger, Safer and Healthier Communities business unit received the most complaints (22 out of 45).

  • We resolved 16 of the remaining 45 complaints quickly and 29 required a formal investigation.

  • Communication and consultation were the main areas where customers were unhappy.

  • There were 11 Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman contacts. Four required no further action as considered resolved, two required the customer to be contacted, two compensation, two ‘other’ and one pending.

  • One complaint was made through an advocate.

Summary

Early resolutions Outcomes Resolutions Timescales
16 Inconclusive: 2

Not upheld: 17

Partially upheld: 16

Upheld: 8

Pending: 2

Withdrawn: 19
35% of complaints that were resolved early and those requiring formal investigation were resolved by providing an explanation. We resolved 77% of complaints early and those requiring formal investigation within agreed timescales.

Customer feedback

Here are some examples of compliments we received from customers:

Adult Social Care

"Just wanted to say big thank you for everything you did for my mother-in-law and us recently, your help came at a very difficult time when we were stressed and worried about the next step for her. Your really did help us and I wanted you to know that."

Neighbourhood Services

"Would you please pass on my sincerest thanks to the grass cutting department for the works done on the park field adjacent to Highstone Lane, Worsbrough Common. A very important green space for everyone has been returned to use. Like an early Xmas present. Thanks again!"

Public Health

This directorate provides the services to the borough relating to health and regulation such as:

  • 0 to 19 Service (health visitors)
  • Regulation Services (commercial regulations, food hygiene and pollution control).

There are 3+ teams in this directorate.

Compliments and complaints

  • Public Health received 18 compliments this year. This is a slight increase from last year.

  • The Public Health 0-19 Service received 12 compliments; the highest for this directorate.

  • Six complaints were received. This is a decrease from last year. Three of these were withdrawn.

  • The Noise Pollution service within the Regulatory Service business unit received the most complaints (3 out of 3).

  • We resolved two of the remaining three complaints quickly and one required a formal investigation.

  • Information provision was the main area where customers were unhappy.

  • There were no Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman contacts regarding this directorate.

  • No complaints were made through an advocate.

Summary

Early resolutions Outcomes Resolutions Timescales
2 Inconclusive: 2

Not upheld: 1

Partially upheld: 0

Upheld: 0

Pending: 0

Withdrawn: 3
67% of complaints that were resolved early and those requiring formal investigation were resolved by providing an explanation. We resolved 100% of early resolution and formal complaints requiring investigation within agreed timescales.

Customer feedback

Here are some examples of compliments we received from customers:

0-19 Public Health Nursing Team

"Absolutely fantastic team! Quick responses to queries and very helpful and supportive. I used the service when I was breast feeding and the support I received during this time was phenomenal, the team and care invested was second to none. Even now post breast feeding, the team are super helpful. It’s comforting to have such support; I cannot recommend enough. Thank you."

Regulatory Services

"I would like to say how grateful we are for your prompt action and extremely efficient response which led to such rapid resolution of an issue which has been going on for a very long time. This comes with best wishes for your work."

Learning from feedback

Learning from our customers is really important to us. During the investigations we undertake we look at what may have gone wrong, why, and what we can do to improve the services we provide. Below are a few examples of learning we've identified from our complaints investigations and improvements we're working towards achieving.

Customer communication

We recognise the importance of how we communicate with our customers and we've identified the opportunities below to learn from what our customers have experienced:

  • Review how we respond to customer contacts and seek ways to improve our communication.
  • For robust communication processes to be established between the relevant officers when
    dealing with finance enquiries.
  • Ensuring we have a consistent method of agreeing how our customers will receive the services we provide.

Processes and procedures

Customers shared with us their experiences of using our services and from this we identified opportunities where we could improve out procedures, so that our customers experienced improved service delivery and out staff had clearer guidance. Here are a few of the improvements we identified:

  • We will standardise the recording and updating of requests for service, and policies and procedures for front line staff updated to improve customer satisfaction when visiting our community buildings.
  • Develop a formalised policy for assisted collections or rural collection.
  • Review of letting procedures across the council to be undertaken by Asset Management to ensure consistency of approach.

Working together

It's important that we're seen by the customer as one council and therefore the services we provide are seamless and coordinated as much as possible. We've therefore listened and learnt from our customers who have told us that this hasn't always been the case, and below are a few of the improvements we're working to achieve:

  • Make improvements in the information provided to people raising objections to Traffic Regulation Orders, thus reducing the uncertainty.
  • Re-train staff dealing with appointments in relation to disabled bus passes to enhance understanding of the application process.
  • Use feedback received to ensure the continuous improvement of service delivery for, and in partnership with, our residents and communities.

Key data

One of the aims of the Customer Feedback, Information and Improvement Team is to try and make the
information we produce interesting and easy to read. However, we also understand it's important to be
clear and transparent. It's for this reason that we've included the key data that's supported the
compilation of this report below.

Number of compliments

This year has seen a decrease in the number of compliments when compared to last year. There were 502 in 2018/19 and 369 in 2019/20.

Our Place directorate received 174 compliments; the highest number of all the directorates.

Compliments total by directorate

  • Adults and Communities: 109
  • Core Services: 45
  • Children's Services: 23
  • Place: 174
  • Public Health: 18

Top three business units

  • Environment and Transport: 148
  • Adult Social Care and Wellbeing: 68
  • Stronger, Safer, Healthier Communities: 41

Compliments by business unit

  • Environment and Transport: 148
  • Adult Social Care and Wellbeing: 68
  • Stronger, Safer, Healthier Communities: 41
  • Regeneration and Culture: 26
  • Business Improvement, HR and Communications: 19
  • Customer, Information and Digital Services: 15
  • Education, Early Start and Prevention: 14
  • Public Health (0-19): 12
  • Finance: 10
  • Children’s Social Care and Safeguarding: 9
  • Regulatory Services: 6
  • Governance, Member Services and Business Support: 1

Number of complaints and resolution method

There's been an increase in the overall number of complaints we received this year compared to last year. In 2018/19 we received 333 complaints (13 were withdrawn) and in 2019/20 we received 402 complaints which reduces to 275 when the 127 withdrawn complaints are deducted.

Less complaints than last year have required formal investigation; 168 complaints required formal investigation in 2018/19 compared with 157 in 2019/20. There were 165 complaints that were resolved early last year.

Directorate Early resolution Formal investigation Total complaints Progression
Adults and Communities 16 29 45 0
Core Services 33 24 57 0
Children's Services 20 58 78 7
Place 47 45 92 4
Public Health 2 1 3 0
Total 118 157 275 11

This year there were three Children’s Social Care complaint investigations that progressed to stage two. One Children’s Social Care panel investigation progressed to stage three. There were three stage two corporate reviews for Children’s Services and four for Place.

Most of our complaints were about the way we deliver our services and how we're communicating with our customers. This trend is to be expected as these are the main interactions the council has with members of the public.

Type of complaint Q1 2019/20 Q2 2019/20 Q3 2019/20 Q4 2019/20
How we tell you about things 27 25 15 24
What we tell you about things 7 8 7 2
How we follow the rules 1 0 0 0
The way we do things 31 23 22 13
Staff 28 16 14 12
Total 94 72 58 51

We acknowledge that we've either upheld or partially upheld most of the complaints we've received, therefore we're agreeing that we need to improve and learn from what our customers are telling us. In doing this we've provided an explanation to the customer as a resolution to their complaint to explain what went wrong and what we'll do to address this.

Type of complaint Inconclusive Not upheld Partially upheld Upheld Awaiting response
How we tell you about things 7 17 33 27 7
What we tell you about things 2 9 7 6 0
How we follow the rules 0 0 0 1 0
The way we do things 5 33 24 25 2
Staff 9 20 23 17 1
Total 23 79 87 76 10
Type of complaint Apology Explanation Reassurance Change to service Actions for improvement Financial redress Other Pending
How we tell you about things 30 42 4 0 3 4 3 5
What we tell you about things 6 13 2 1 0 1 1 0
How we follow the rules 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
The way we do things 26 42 14 1 1 3 1 1
Staff 16 34 11 2 4 0 2 1
Total 78 131 31 4 8 9 7 7

Timescales for resolution

We resolved 79% of our complaints within timescales, the same as last year. However, in 2019/20, we failed to meet agreed timescales on 18% of occasions (3% are pending).

We'll continue to work to improve meeting the timescales we agree with our customers as we know that this is important. However, sometimes due to availability, work pressures and the complexity of some complaints these timescales are exceeded. We always aim to keep the customer up to date when there will be a delay with their complaint investigation.

It's important to us that we ensure that we keep customers informed and updated on what happens when they contact the Customer Feedback Information and Improvement Team, within three working days. 55% of customer complaints were acknowledged within the three working day timescale in 2019/20 compared with 59% the previous year.

Early resolution complaints

Timescale not met and outcome

Business unit Inconclusive Not upheld Partially upheld Upheld Total
Adult Social Care and Health 1 0 0 0 1
Stronger, Safer and Healthier Communities 0 0 1 0 1
Business Intelligence, HR and Communications 0 0 0 0 0
Customer, Information and Digital Services 1 0 0 0 1
Finance 0 1 1 0 2
Governance and Member Support 0 0 0 0 0
Legal Services 0 0 0 0 0
Education, Early Start and Prevention 0 0 0 0 0
Children's Social Care and Safeguarding 0 3 1 1 5
Environment and Transport 1 0 0 2 3
Regeneration and Property 0 0 0 0 0
Public Health and Regulation 0 0 0 0 0
Total 3 4 3 3 13

Timescale met and outcome

Business unit Inconclusive Not upheld Partially upheld Upheld Total
Adult Social Care and Health 0 3 5 0 8
Stronger, Safer and Healthier Communities 1 3 0 2 6
Business Intelligence, HR and Communications 0 0 1 0 1
Customer, Information and Digital Services 0 1 2 40 7
Finance 6 6 2 6 20
Governance and Member Support 1 0 0 0 1
Legal Services 0 1 0 0 1
Education, Early Start and Prevention 0 0 0 1 1
Children's Social Care and Safeguarding 1 4 7 2 14
Environment and Transport 5 7 13 16 41
Regeneration and Property 1 1 0 1 3
Public Health and Regulation 1 1 0 0 2
Total 16 27 30 32 105

Formal complaints

Timescale not met and outcome

Business unit Awaiting response Inconclusive Not upheld Partially upheld Upheld Total
Adult Social Care and Health 2 0 2 4 1 9
Stronger, Safer and Healthier Communities 0 0 1 0 0 1
Business Intelligence, HR and Communications 1 0 0 0 1 2
Customer, Information and Digital Services 0 0 0 0 0 0
Legal Services 0 0 0 0 0 0
Finance 0 0 0 3 0 3
Children's Social Care and Safeguarding 0 0 1 6 0 7
Education, Early Start and Prevention 0 0 0 1 3 4
Environment and Transport 6 1 4 1 5 17
Regeneration and Culture 1 1 0 0 1 3
Public Health and Regulation 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 10 2 8 15 11 46

Timescale met and outcome

Business unit Inconclusive Not upheld Partially upheld Upheld Total
Adult Social Care and Health 0 5 4 1 9
Stronger, Safer and Healthier Communities 0 3 2 4 9
Business Intelligence, HR and Communications 0 2 1 1 4
Customer, Information and Digital Services 0 0 0 2 2
Legal Services 0 0 1 1 2
Finance 0 5 6 0 11
Children's Social Care and Safeguarding 0 13 16 3 32
Education, Early Start and Prevention 0 5 5 5 15
Environment and Transport 0 6 2 11 19
Regeneration and Culture 1 1 2 2 6
Public Health and Regulation 1 0 0 0 1
1Total 2 40 39 30 110

Withdrawn complaints

Type of complaint Communities Core People Place Public Health Unknown Total
How we tell you about things 4 7 12 12 1 2 38
What we tell you about things 0 1 3 0 0 0 4
How we follow the rules 0 0 0 1 0 0 1
The way we do things 9 6 7 23 1 0 46
Staff 6 8 11 12 1 0 38
Total 19 22 33 48 3 2 127

Ombudsman contacts

This year we've seen an increase in the number of Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman and Housing Service Ombudsman contacts than last year. In 2018/19 there were 33 and in 2019/20 there were 41.

Our annual review letter from the Ombudsman was received in July 2020. It explained that there are areas we need to work on in completing investigations. We've reflected on the way we've responded to the Ombudsman’s enquiries over the past 12 months and we're implementing new ways of working to improve service delivery.

Business unit Nature of enquiry Outcome/status Ombudsman remedy
Berneslai Homes 4 investigations 1 fault with injustice

1 in progress

1 new
1 compensation

1 no action required
Adult Social Care and Health 3 initial assessments

6 investigations
4 not considering - not enough evidence of fault

2 LA to pursue complaint

1 fault with injustice

1 in progress

1 discontinued investigation
3 no action required

2 contact to be made to customer

2 other

1 compensation
Stronger, Safer and Healthier Communities 1 initial assessments

1 investigations
1 fault with injustice

1 no fault and no injustice
1 compensations

1 no action required
Council Governance 1 initial assessment 1 not considering - not enough evidence of fault 1 no action required
Finance 3 initial assessments

1 investigation
3 LA to pursue through complaints

1 other
3 contact to be made to customer

1 no action required
Legal Services 1 initial assessment 1 initial assessment 1 no action required
Children's Social Care and Safeguarding 1 initial assessment 1 LA to pursue through complaints 1 other
Education, Early Start and Prevention 3 initial assessments

4 investigations
3 in progress

2 LA to pursue through complaints

1 fault with injustice

1 outside LGO jurisdiction
2 no action required

1 compensation

1 contact to be made to customer
Environment and Transport 1 initial assessment

4 investigations

2 no fault and no injustice

2 not considering - not enough evidence of fault

1 fault with injustice

5 no action required
Regeneration and Property 3 initial assessments

4 investigations

3 not considering - not enough evidence of fault

2 new

1 LA to pursue through complaints

1 other

4 no action required

1 other

Who, how and where complaints were made

Who made a complaint to us

  • 98% of complaints were made by the service user themselves
  • 2% of complaints were made by an advocate

The upward trend has continued from last year and we're now seeing nearly 100% of complaints being made by the person who is receiving the service. Again, there are very few people who have used an advocate this year. However, we always advise customers whose complaints are being formally investigated to contact us if they'd like to know more about what support is available when making a complaint.

How complaints were made

  • 32% of complaints were made by phone. This has decreased from 38% in 2018/19.
  • 48% of complaints were made online. Last year 34% were made online. We're keen to encourage our customers to use our online services.
  • 9% of complaints were made by post. We're receiving less complaints by post. In 2018/19 14% of complaints were made this way.
  • 8% of complaints were made by email.

Where complaints were made

The trend continues that most of the customers who made a complaint raised their concerns directly with the Customer Feedback, Information and Improvement Team (58%). This shows that the team are continuing to be accessible to customers and that they are aware of their right to complain. This is great news and we welcome all feedback from our customers.

Routes of complaint

  • Feedback and Improvement Team: 159
  • Contact centre: 40
  • Council website: 40
  • Direct to service: 13
  • Advocate: 6
  • MP: 4
  • Chief Executive: 3
  • Ombudsman: 3
  • Councillor: 2
  • Direct to service provider: 2
  • NHS: 1
  • Service Director: 1
  • Partner organisation: 1