These are the council services Sheffielders have complained about

More than 3,000 complaints were made about Sheffield Council and its partners Amey, Capita and Veolia last year.

By Lucy Ashton
Monday, 28th October 2019, 11:43 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 3:25 pm
Sheffield Town Hall
Sheffield Town Hall

Most of the 3,042 complaints were resolved, with just a handful escalated to the Ombudsman.

There were 710 complaints about the council, 1,744 about Amey, 228 about Capital and 360 about Veolia.

The Streets Ahead highways scheme, adult social care, housing and repairs, and education and special educational needs were the areas which generated the largest number of Ombudsman enquiries.

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Of all the complaints, only 165 went to the Local Government Ombudsman and the council paid £14,750 in compensation and other reimbursements following Ombudsman rulings.

Executive director of resources Eugene Walker told a scrutiny meeting that the number of complaints was small compared with how many people the council dealt with.

“If you compare it to the amount of transactions the council deals with, we have 60,000 benefit claimants and 200,000 council tax payers.

“There will also be complaints from people who don’t like something, even though it was a correct decision.

“Complaints do bring feedback but when you put them into the context of customers and transactions across all council services it’s not a huge number.

“We are not as good as Leeds, we’re about the same as Liverpool and better than Birmingham and Nottingham so it’s very much of a muchness. We’re not the best but not the worst either.”

The number of complaints against both Capita and Veolia rose from previous years. In January the council is ending its contract with Capita – which looked after IT, and revenues and benefits – and bringing the service back in-house.

Mr Walker added: “Clearly with Veolia it’s bins and no matter what we do, somebody will think it’s not right. We introduced the new brown bins and if you live in a small house, some people are not happy about having three bins.

“In the past Capita recorded certain complaints in a certain way and we would not do it that way. If it was resolved at a certain stage they didn’t record it but the council logs all complaints.”

He said more work was being done on the council telephone service,

“The telephone system is being replaced and it’s about getting that right and getting more training in the contact centres.

“We get calls about everything from somebody wanting a rat catcher to complaints about housing benefit claims and we have teams who specialise but to help the workload it’s about cross training people and finding peaks in their workflow.

“Now and then we have to do a summons run which creates a spike in calls so we need to think about how we schedule this.”

The 165 complaints to the Ombudsman

Education and children’s services 34

Adult social care 28

Environmental services 25

Highways and transport 21

Housing 18

Benefits and tax 17

Corporate and other 12

Planning and development 10