BARNSLEY Council received more than 700 complaints from residents last year – over double the amount previously.

The council’s ruling cabinet members will discuss its complaints and compliments at next Wednesday’s meeting.

A report states there were 712 customers complaints registered by residents last year – more than a 100 per cent increase on the previous year’s figure of 320.

However, 211 of those complaints were later discontinued – either due to the customer withdrawing their complaint or no long wishing to engage with the process – bringing the total number of resolved complaints to 501.

A cabinet report said: “It is disappointing that some of our customers do not continue with their complaints or withdraw them, and this can be for a variety of reasons not always known to us.

“Whilst these concerns do not continue to be investigated as a complaint the concerns raised should be shared with the service for their attention and awareness.

“A review of the process we have in place for the action taken on discontinued complaints has taken place in quarter one of 2022/23 with the aim of seeing a reduction in the number of complaints which are being discontinued.”

Bosses say it’s ‘vital’ that the complaints are given as it allows them to improve the service.

The council say there’s a variety of reasons why the number of complaints has seen such a vast increase.

Residents may be more aware of their right to complain, making a complaint is now more accessible, and this is the first full year report on complaints since the pandemic.

A report added: “There are many different reasons to explain why an increase in complaints has been seen during 2021/22, and it is important that we understand the details of this to ensure that where we are upholding these complaints, services are learning and improving in response.

“During 2022/23 the customer resolution team will be holding a workshop with those services who have received the most upheld complaints to identify opportunities to improve and learn from the feedback we have received both in the management of complaints and from the complaints themselves.”

Almost all of the complaints were responded to in the correct timescale, as 97 per cent were delivered in time.

More than 260 of the complaints they received were fully upheld, whilst 123 were partially upheld – meaning the council agreed there had been some fault in its actions.

The number of compliments the council received also dropped this year.

They received 414 compared to the 475 they did last year.

Coun Alan Gardiner, cabinet spokesperson for core services, said: “We’ve achieved so many great things this past year, but we need to learn from complaints and improve our services.

“It’s our opportunity to get things right.

“I want to reassure you that we’re listening to what our residents are telling us.

“We aim to manage your expectations and demands but also recognise the opportunities this presents to continuously improve our services.

“Therefore, we want to make sure that you can provide us with this information and know how to do this.

“By working together to reach a fair and swift resolution, where putting it right is at the heart of what we always consider.

“We’ve recently introduced an additional resource into the team who manage our complaints function to ensure that we continue to prioritise complaints, detect early warning signs of problems, and offer opportunities to improve service delivery.

“We’ll use this report as part of our learning and development to explore how we can improve ways of working to best support our residents.”