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Council says its complaints responses are "unacceptable"

 
Created on 02/02/2017 @ 14:56
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Have you complained to Powys County Council for a specific reason? There’s a good chance you haven’t heard back about your response.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted by Montgomeryshire Assembly Member, Russell George, has revealed that Powys County Council has failed to respond to 17 formal complaints since April 2016.
 
The request for information asked for details of how many residents had failed to receive a response to their formal complaints within the agreed timescales as set out by the council's own complaints process (20 working days) and had not even received a notification from Powys County Council that an extension was required.
 
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.
 
Following the response to his FOI request, Mr George said: "Powys County Council's shocking admission that it has failed to respond to 17 formal complaints in a 9 month period is a total abdication of responsibility to those residents and service users who dutifully pay their council tax and expect to have their complaint dealt with, investigated and then given a response in a timely fashion.
 
“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 Leader, Councillor Barry Thomas, responded to MyNewtown about the FOI, saying it was unacceptable that they had not responded to the complaints.

“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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