Council to do more to tackle dissatisfaction

Coun Mark Perks
Coun Mark Perks
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Council bosses in Chorley have been accused of not doing enough to tackle complaints by residents to the authority.

A performance report submitted by the borough’s chief executive to a meeting of the executive cabinet on Thursday highlighted that nearly one in three customers are dissatisfied in the way they were treated by the council.

But council chiefs claim the figures are misleading, following the introduction of a new customer complaints procedure by the Labour administration.

The report states the primary reason for the high figure specifically relates to waste and the delivery of new or replacement containers.

However, it also mentions matters such as highways, trees and dog fouling, stating these are often more emotive, requiring more complex action and investigation.

Coun Mark Perks, leader of the Conservative group, said:“Concerns were raised by the council’s own overview and scrutiny committee last year on this very subject.

“Assurances were given by the leader of the council that a programme of targeted internal actions within the council and effective communications would take place, with the aim of improving the response times and quality of response.

“Clearly the current figures indicate there is still much to be done by the Labour administration, such as listening to residents’ complaints, dealing with concerns more quickly and providing much higher quality response.”

The council claims the ‘one in three’ claim is inaccurate.

Councillor Peter Wilson, deputy leader, said: “When we took control of the council the previous administration claimed that virtually everyone was satisfied with the way the council dealt with things, which we didn’t think was the case.

“What we did was ask residents in more detail about how their request was dealt with and it turned out almost a third of people were dissatisfied, which showed the previous figures weren’t genuine. We’ve done detailed analysis to find out what the problems were and we’ve shown a downward trend for dissatisfaction, which is now at 24 per cent.

“We know there’s more work to be done and we will continue to look at ways of improving what we do but the signs clearly show that people are more satisfied with the way the council is handling their enquiries and resident satisfaction has actually gone up by ten per cent since the Labour group came into administration.