More praise, fewer gripes for council ‘trying hard’
Unemptied bins and litter in the streets topped the
Swale council complaints chart for 2011/12.
Gripes about refuse collection and street cleansing totalled 81
for the year.
Parking was the next biggest cause of grumbles tallying 48,
narrowly beating planning wrangles which numbered 47.
There were 38 moans about revenues and benefits, 32 on housing,
17 about leisure and open spaces and 11 for the environmental
Customer service and the new Gateway team received eight
complaints, while those not falling in any particular category
amounted to 27.
Overall the number of complaints was 309, down from 364 in
2010/11 and 393 in 2009/10.
The figures were included in an annual council report on
complaints, compliments and comments. It was the third time yearly
statistics had been recorded.
While disputes with the council decreased, compliments increased
and were up to 330 from 126 in 2009/10 and 235 in 2010/11.
Council leader Cllr Andrew Bowles said he was pleasantly
“The general perception is everything is wrong in
politics, so to have an annual review that says complaints are
going down and positive comments going up, we must be getting
“We have tried really hard to make back-office savings so, as
far as possible, we did not hit services to the public.”
Last year, a residents’ survey revealed “a significant number”
of people did not know how to formally complain to the council.
As a result, council correspondence sent to residents has
referred to the complaints procedure and a “clear link” is featured
on its website, where people can click on “comment or complain” on
A new system for dealing with complaints, compliments and
comments was introduced in 2010/11. It is said to have improved
monitoring, so that lessons can be learned and issues dealt with
- Anyone can contact the council online, by email to
firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone on 01795 417850, by visiting any of the
council offices or by writing to Customer Service Centre, Swale
House, East Street, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 3HT.
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