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Nearly 20 per cent fall in complaints to ombudsman about Colchester Borough Council services in two years

The number of complaints made to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman about services provided by Colchester Borough Council has fallen.

Date issued: 29 August 2018

The number of complaints made to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman about services provided by Colchester Borough Council has fallen by nearly 20 per cent in two years.

Between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018 a total of 21 complaints were made to the ombudsman, which is the final stage of complaints about councils and social care providers. This is a drop from 25 raised with the ombudsman during the same period in 2015/2016.

Of the 21 issues referred to the ombudsman, five were subject to detailed investigations with one being upheld while the other four were dismissed. This means 20 per cent of the cases subject to detailed investigations by the ombudsman were upheld in 2017/2018, compared to 33 per cent in 2016/2017 and 50 per cent in 2015/2016.

Eight issues referred to the national body were referred back to be resolved locally by the council and complainant, and five were closed after initial enquiries by the ombudsman. 

In 2017/2018 the council’s customer services was contacted 266,882 times – an increase of around 16,000 from the previous year – excluding the ad hoc enquiries received by services across the authority.

This means that the number of complaints to the ombudsman in 2017/2018 equates to 0.01 per cent of the number of official customer contacts the council received.

The figures reflect the drive of the council’s Better Colchester campaign to make Colchester an even more attractive place to live, work and visit.

Cllr Beverley Oxford, Portfolio Holder for Customers, said: “We strive to ensure we provide the best possible service for everyone living and working in the borough.

“These figures show that in the vast amount of occasions we are doing just that. However, sometimes things do fall below our high standards that we set ourselves.

“I can assure everyone that we take every complaint seriously and look into how we can ensure we learn from them and get even better going forward.”

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