‘Improved recording’ behind increase in customer service complaints to council

Pathfinder House, home to Huntingdonshire District Council. Picture: ARCHANT

Pathfinder House, home to Huntingdonshire District Council. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Customer service complaints at Huntingdonshire District Council rose four-fold last year, documents show.

And complaints related to the council's development service doubled.

But complaints about the bin service, which rose dramatically the year before last following changes to collections, are considerably fewer this year.

Addressing the figures, the council said those services which saw increased complaints had improved their recording processes.

But on the bin service, where complaints have decreased, those changes are due to an improved service.

"Huntingdonshire District Council takes complaints very seriously as the feedback they provide allows us to constantly improve services to match the needs and expectations of residents," a council spokesman said.

"Overall, the number of complaints received by the council over the year 2018/19 decreased. There was an increase in complaints across the departments customer services and development; however this was due to an improved recording and coordination process within the services.

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"Our operations department saw a large decrease in complaints, most notably amongst the waste collection service, due in the main to public feedback that has allowed us to provide a waste collection service that better suits the needs of Huntingdonshire residents."

The overall number of stage one complaints to the council across all services fell from 565 to 419, with last year's figures seeing a sharp increase following changes to bin collections.

The number of complaints for the 2018/19 is still considerably higher than 2016/17, where there were 284 complaints in total.

Last year, the number of customer services complaints quadrupled - from 11 to 43.

And complaints about leisure and health services more than doubled, rising from 42 to 93. Development related complaints also rose, from 24 to 46.

Operations' complaints - which includes bins - rose from 149 in 2016/17 to 480 the year after, following a change to bin collection schedules.

This year the number of operations complaints has dropped to 224, of which 168 relate to bins.