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Council sorry over “shocking failure”

Created on 02/02/2017 @ 11:15
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Following a Freedom of Information request that showed Powys County Council’s formal complaints system was not up to scratch, its Leader has apologised.

Montgomeryshire Assembly Member Russell George discovered that over the last nine months, Powys had failed to respond to 17 formal complaints.

He described it as a “shocking failure” and added: “Twenty working days should be ample time for Powys County Council to respond to all but the most complicated issues.

“Year after year, I have to write to the council to highlight the fact that hundreds of people are just not getting responses when issues are raised. Only a fraction of these make formal complaints and they are still not receiving replies.

“In one case, a resident has waited since November to hear back from the council and is still waiting. This is not acceptable.

“I will now be asking the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales to investigate Powys County Council over these ‘non-responses’ and its abject failure to comply with its own complaints procedures.”

Powys County Council ordinarily has 20 working days to answer complaints and if a longer period of time is needed, the local authority is supposed to write to the complainant with the reason for the delay.

We spoke to the council and its Leader, Councillor Barry Thomas, responded: “We are aware that services failed to respond to 17 complaints which equates to six per cent of the total complaints received in the past nine months which is unacceptable. We apologise for the poor performance. 

“Although the council’s response to complaints is managed by Customer Services it is the responsibility of individual service areas to investigate and act on complaints. Services are being reminded that they have a responsibility to respond to complaints within corporate standards.”

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