Continuing failure to respond to complaints and enquiries.

The request was successful.

Dear Highland Council,

From the information you hold how many complaints and enquiries of mine, in the last 12 months, remain outstanding?

By what date should each outstanding complaint or enquiry have been answered?

In each case what is the reason the complaint or enquiry remains outstanding?

Does the Council have an intention to reply to these outstanding complaints or enquiries and if so when will they be answered?

What action does the Council take to ensure complaints or enquiries recieve answers?

Is the Council content that complaints and enquiries remain unanswered?

How many others have not recieved answers to complaints or enquiries in the last 12 months? What were/are the reasons for not answering each of these?

Yours faithfully,

Guy Kerry

Highland Council

Case Ref: HC0226-3086  
Dear Guy Kerry, 
We acknowledge receipt of your request for information under the
FOI legislation received on 11/02/2018.
Subject: 
Continuing Failure to Respond to Complaints and Enquiries
Request Detail:
Dear Highland Council, From the information you hold how many complaints
and enquiries of mine, in the last 12 months, remain outstanding? By what
date should each outstanding complaint or enquiry have been answered? In
each case what is the reason the complaint or enquiry remains outstanding?
Does the Council have an intention to reply to these outstanding
complaints or enquiries and if so when will they be answered? What action
does the Council take to ensure complaints or enquiries recieve answers?
Is the Council content that complaints and enquiries remain unanswered?
How many others have not recieved answers to complaints or enquiries in
the last 12 months? What were/are the reasons for not answering each of
these? Yours faithfully, Guy Kerry
The Highland Council will endeavour to respond within the legislative time
scale of 20 working days from date of receipt unless further clarification
of your request is required.
Further information on response times can be found at:
[1]http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourR...
Yours Sincerely,
The Highland Council
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Mura h-eil na beachdan a tha air an cur an cèill sa phost-d seo a'
buntainn ri gnothachas Chomhairle na Gàidhealtachd, 's ann leis an neach
fhèin a chuir air falbh e a tha iad, is chan eil iad an-còmhnaidh a'
riochdachadh beachdan na Comhairle, no buidhnean buntainneach, agus chan
eil am post-d seo na phàirt de chunnradh sam bith mura h-eil sin air
innse.

Listening * Open * Valuing * Improving * Supporting * Partnering * Delivering
Èisteachd * Fosgailte * Luach * Leasachadh * Taic * Com-pàirteachas *
Lìbhrigeadh

References

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Freedom of Information, Highland Council

Dear Mr Kerry,
I refer to your request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 below, which for the purpose of the legislation was received on 12th February 2018.

Information regarding a private individual's communications with a public authority is considered to be personal data under the definition contained in the Data Protection Act 1998. Privacy in correspondence is also covered by Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998. The information in the first four questions below, regarding your private correspondence with the Council is, therefore, considered to be exempt under Section 38(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 as relates to your own personal data. This is an absolute exemption and the Council does not need to carry out a public interest test in relation to the disclosure or otherwise of this information.

This information can be made available to you through Section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998 and you can submit a request by filling out the form on this page of the Council's website https://www.highland.gov.uk/info/704/dat...

The Council has a complaints procedure https://www.highland.gov.uk/a_to_z/servi... which complies with the requirements of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman. Performance is measured and reported on our website:
https://www.highland.gov.uk/downloads/fi...

and to our Audit and Scrutiny Committee:
https://www.highland.gov.uk/meetings/mee...
https://highland.public-i.tv/core/portal...

The reporting recognises the current failure to meet our targets in relation to complaints and the Council is attempting to address this problem.

Enquiries are usually less formal and performance is not monitored. It is up to the officers who are allocated enquiries to deal with them as appropriate or forward to the appropriate person if the enquiry isn’t within their remit. Many enquiries are dealt with by officers phoning the customer or forwarding the information to another process. If the officer doesn’t have time to log the details of their actions on the system, the enquiry will have been dealt with but will remain open. If a customer is dissatisfied with the way an enquiry is dealt with they are able to raise a complaint about this.

With respect to the last question in your request, I have run a report on our system for all of the complaints and enquiries which have been logged between 12th February 2017 and 11th February 2018. During that period 96,661 enquiries and 2974 complaints were logged on the system. As of the 9th March 2018 there are 2,588 enquiries and 95 complaints which remain open on the system. However, being open on the system doesn't mean that all of these cases have not been dealt appropriately, some will still be within deadline and some will have been completed but not closed properly. Others will be awaiting responses/clarifications from the individuals who raised the cases. For this reason we can't give you a figure for the number of cases which haven't been answered or the reasons. In order to do so, we would need to research each case individually. To research each case individually would take the cost of complying with your request beyond the £600 threshold set by Section 12(1) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. Where this is the case the Council is not obliged to comply with your request.

Under Section 20 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and/or Regulation 16 of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), you have the right to request that the Highland Council reviews any aspect of how it has dealt with your request. This requirement for review should be put in writing to the Freedom of Information Officer, Chief Executive’s Office, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness IV3 5NX, within 40 working days of receipt of this letter. The request should include details of the information requested and the aspects of the Highland Council’s response which you are not satisfied with.

If you are subsequently dissatisfied with the outcome of the Council's review, you have the right to appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner under Section 47 of the Act (Regulation 17 of the EIRS), within six months of receiving the Council's review response.

Yours sincerely,

Miles Watters

Miles Watters | Freedom of Information & Data Protection Manager |
Chief Executive's Office | The Highland Council | Glenurquhart Road | Inverness IV3 5NX |
Tel. 01463 702029 | Fax 01463 702830 | www.highland.gov.uk

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