Agenda item


To receive the report of Eleanor Brown, Director of Customer & Communications (Acting).


Eleanor Brown, Director of Customer & Communications (Acting) introduced the report which provided an overview of Enfield Council’s complaint handling process which include corporate, statutory (social care) and Ombudsmen complaints. Each category has different handling processes and those for social care are based on legislative requirements. For both types, if the complainant remains unhappy with the Council’s final response, they can escalate this to the Ombudsman for independent review. A complaint can be wide-ranging, but it is broadly defined as an expression of dissatisfaction with a service provided, or lack of action by the Council or its staff which requires a response.


Questions were invited from Members.


Members raised concerns that a copy of the Annual Corporate Complaints Report 2022/23 had not been made available for this meeting as it was felt that a lot of the questions that may arise this evening would have been covered within that report. The Chair agreed and said that if there was a report that compliments the information presented this evening, then it would have been useful for the committee to have seen this. The Chair did however apologise that there had been a misunderstanding when clarifying with Officers the information required by the Overview & Scrutiny Committee, and it was therefore AGREED that following the meeting the Annual Corporate Complaints Report 2022/23 would be circulated to Members.


In response to questions regarding how residents can make complaints, it was confirmed that complaints can be submitted in various formats including via Enfield Council’s website, telephone, email and post. Upon receipt, complaints are assessed and distributed to services by the Council’s Complaints & Access to Information Service. The team’s role is to support services with their responses; provide guidance where necessary; deliver corporate complaints handling training and conduct regular performance reporting to drive performance improvement and a complaints learning culture across the organisation.


In response to queries relating to processes and performance targets it was advised that although these vary depending on the complaint type, all complaint responses record whether the complaint is upheld, partially upheld or not upheld and why.


Further details were provided on the first stage and final stage complaints process. To measure performance, the Council measures how many first stage complaints are answered on time. The Key Performance Indicator (KPI) target for this is 95% within 10 working days. For final stage complaints, the KPI is 95% within 30 working days.


Following further questions from Members regarding Key Performance Indicators and how these are monitored, it was advised that weekly departmental reports are circulated to Executive Directors, Directors, Heads of Service and responding officers to increase on time performance rates. Departmental Management Teams receive updates regarding their complaints performance and learning as well as quarterly KPI results. Corporate KPI performance is also included in the Council’s Quarterly Performance Reports.


Members asked whether officers responding to complaints have access to customer call recordings when a complaint is received via the contact centre. Officers advised that it was the responsibility of the service area to request the recording from the Contact Centre should they wish to listen to this.


In response to Members’ questions regarding the average time taken for a corporate complaint escalated to final stage to be completed during 2022/23 Officers advised that they did not have this information to hand but AGREED to circulate it  to the Committee post meeting.


In response to further questions, Officers AGREED to circulate the following information to Members:


·         Annual Corporate Complaints Report 2022/23.

·         Breakdown of complaints received per channel for 2022/23.

·         Quarterly KPI performance for complaints from Q2 2020/21 to Q2 2023/24.

·         Copies of complaint response templates provided to services.

·         Number of Officers working in the dedicated Housing & Regeneration Complaints Team.

·         Past 3 years’ worth of Ombudsmen performance letters to Chief Executive.

·         Details of the average time taken for a corporate complaint escalated to final stage to be completed during 2022/23


*Post Meeting Note* - the above information has now been circulated to Members


The Chair thanked Officers for their update and the information provided.


The Panel agreed:


i.              To note the report.

ii.            To invite Officers to the Overview & Scrutiny Committee meeting scheduled to take place on 4 March 2024 to provide a further update to include the following:

·         To further discuss the 2022/23 Corporate Complaints Annual Report.

·         MEQ IT System/Performance (with a focus on MEQ performance for 2022/23 and relevant in-year data from quarterly KPI performance to be shared).

Supporting documents: