An opportunity to improve: complaints changes

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Surf Coast Shire Council continues to build on its commitment to learn from complaints to improve people’s dealings with Council.

From January this year, Council’s recording of complaints changed to include a broader range of customer requests – aligning with the Victorian Ombudsman 2019 report, Revisiting councils and complaints. The report details recommendations for councils to improve the way they handle complaints.

Having reformed its handling of complaints in the past two years, Surf Coast Shire Council will go further by adopting a broader definition of a complaint. Any dissatisfaction with a Council service is will now be counted.

Mayor Rose Hodge welcomed the change, which was outlined in the Bi-annual Complaint Handling Report noted by Council at its February meeting.

“The next time this bi-annual report comes to Council, we’re going to see an increase in the number of complaints because we’re applying the definition more broadly,” Cr Hodge said.

“Items such as a missed bin, an infringement appeal, a property valuation objection or an overflowing street litter bin will now be captured in our complaint reporting. Previously this wasn’t the case even though we collected the data and the requests were addressed.

“It’s a great opportunity for Council to continue to improve the way complaints are handled. Ultimately, all feedback supports us to improve services and the community’s dealings with Council.”

From 1 July 2019 to 31 December 2019, Council received 111 complaints. In the same period, it recorded 13,867 requests for service through its customer request system.

“We are seeing an increase in people using Lodge a Request through our website, which is fantastic because it’s a quick and easy way to deal with Council,” Cr Hodge said.

“I encourage people to submit requests and feedback through this channel as you’ll be given a reference number which you can then use to track progress. You can also choose to be informed of the outcome of your request.”

To Lodge a Request, visit www.surfcoast.vic.gov.au.

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