Venue: Town Hall Main Road Romford
Contact: Grant Soderberg Tel: 01708 433091 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
EXCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC
To consider whether the public should now be excluded from the remainder of the meeting on the grounds that it is likely that, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, if members of the public were present during these items there would be disclosure to them of exempt information within the meaning of paragraph 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972; and, if it is decided to exclude the public on these grounds, the Hearings Panel to resolve accordingly on the motion of the Chairman.
On a motion by the Chairman,
The Panel excluded the public but permitted the representatives of the Chief Executive’s Office to remain as observers.
CONSIDERATION OF A COMPLAINT AGAINST THE HOUSING SERVICE CONTAINING EXEMPT INFORMATION
The details of this complaint are contained within the exempt appendix to this Minute.
The essence of the complaint was that initially the complainant was left without hot water or heating for six days whilst a contractor fitted a new bathroom. When the contractor left, there was a leak which caused extensive water damage to personal possessions as well as the property. This leak was repaired but a second leak caused further damage. It too was quickly repaired.
The complainant raised these matters with the Council and it appears that there were some delays and misunderstandings in the communication between the service and the complainant which caused delays and frustration.
At Stage Two, the repair issues were fully addressed and a new boiler system installed at no cost to the tenant but there remained the issue of damage to personal property and ancillary costs. The complainant did not have contents insurance and considered that the Council was liable. This was ruled as being inappropriate for consideration by Members as insurance claims do not fall within their remit as this is a distinct remedy route itself.
A sum of £100 had been offered to the complainant (in line with a figure which the Local Government Ombudsman considered appropriate) as a good-will gesture in respect of the loss of hot water and heating for six days.
The Panel DECIDED:
1. Not to uphold the complaint because it considered that whilst the Service initially failed to properly address the complaint issues, the subsequent action and remedies had been speedy and complete. The Panel considered that in certain respects the Service had gone further than had been strictly necessary and by so doing had provided additional benefit for the tenant.
2. The £100 award was appropriate and that no further award should be made.
3. With regard to the loss of personal possessions, this was subject to the insurance process and as such did not fall within the Panel’s remit and was as a consequence, not considered.
The Panel RECOMMENDED that:
1. In light of the failure of the service to ensure that the complainant’s initial contact was followed-up in a speedy, professional manner and that the appropriate advice had been given at the outset, robust controls should be put in place to ensure that from the initial contact to resolution, appropriate action is taken and that all details are logged on a uniquely identifiable retrieval system and any escalation of a problem is made quickly and seamlessly.
2. The above should be a corporate minimum standard and that the Chief Executive’s Office – as far as it fell within its remit – should ensure that all Service Heads had in place the same process so that the Council would be seen as a single entity. The Panel appreciated that a CRM system was in place, but expressed the view that it needed to be fit for purpose and that required flexibility and inbuilt prompts and alerts.
3. Clear information should be given ... view the full minutes text for item 2.