‘Unhelpful employees’ is top Lancaster City Council complaint

Lancaster Town Hall
Lancaster Town Hall

The unhelpful attitude of employees was the top complaint directed at Lancaster City Council over the past year.

New figures show that in 2015-2016, the council received a total of 124 complaints, compared to 146 in 2014-2015, a reduction of 15 per cent.

The number of complaints had reduced across all council departments, apart from Health and Housing, which was up by five per cent.

Of the complaints received, 50 were upheld or partially upheld by the council - a reduction of a third compared to 2014-2015.

Council leader Eileen Blamire said that the reduction in complaints reflects “the professional way the council’s workforce goes about its job”.

The highest number of upheld complaints were in the environmental services department, while the top reason for complaints was ‘unhelpful attitude of employee’ which had increased from 41 in 2014-2015 to 52 in 2015-2016.

This was followed by ‘failure to follow procedure’, followed by ‘failure to take account of relevant matters’, ‘neglect or unjustifiable delay’ and then ‘malice, bias or discrimination’.

The services that people complained about the most in 2015/2016 was waste and street cleansing (18 complaints), repairs and maintenance (seven complaints), planning and enforcement (10 complaints) and council tax and benefits (seven complaints).

A report to the council’s Budget and Performance Panel showed that the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) received 12 complaints and enquiries about Lancaster City Council, 10 fewer than the previous year.

Of these three were investigated and two were upheld against the council.

One of these was upheld on the basis that whilst the LGO found fault against the council there were no grounds to say that the fault caused injustice that needed to be remedied.

In the second case, the recommendations of the LGO were implemented by the council, the report said.

No payments were made to the complainant in either case.

Coun Eileen Blamire, leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “The number of complaints we receive represents a tiny percentage of the millions of individual transactions the council provides each and every year.

“A service like waste and recycling collections, as an example, undertakes 6.5million collections and together with the vast range of other services provided, including street cleansing, planning enforcement, council tax and benefits, the fact there have only been 30 upheld complaints across a whole year is remarkable.

“I am more than happy to say that the figures reflect the professional way the council’s workforce goes about its job. On the very few occasions we get it wrong we put it right as soon as we can.”