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Customer Relations Performance

We encourage our customers, residents and service users to complain if they are unhappy with the service they have received. If we have done something wrong, we want to take action to put it right and stop it happening again.

Customers may use the word 'complaint' to describe both complaints to the council (e.g. about an issue they would like the council to address) and complaints about the council (e.g. about how we have delivered a service). Complaints to the council are essentially service requests and so would not fall under the council's complaints procedure.

Specific examples of complaints are:

  • failure to provide a service at the right time or to the expected standard
  • neglect or delay in answering a query or responding to a request for a service
  • failure to follow agreed policy, rules or procedures
  • failure to take proper account of relevant matters in coming to a decision
  • impolite or dishonest conduct by a member of staff
  • harassment, bias or discrimination

Customers said, we did

Listening to customer feedback is part of our core business. We welcome complaints for the opportunities they give us to inform policy and improve how we deliver our services. Here are some examples of actions we have taken in direct response to customer complaints:

1. Customers said: they were unhappy with delays in fixing noisy manhole covers

We did: ensured that customer complaints about manhole covers were fed in to ongoing work in Surrey Highways to review and improve the process for handling these types of reports

2. Customers said: Adult Social Care did not give sufficient notice before withdrawing Direct Payments

We did: staff now provide notice before altering Direct Payment arrangements and discuss alternative ways for individuals to fund their care when payments are stopped

3. Customers said: there was a delay in replacing road signs

We did: improved the information on the council's website to explain the timescales for replacing road signs to manage customer expectations

4. Customers said: care leavers did not regularly meet with their Personal Advisor (PA) or receive support regarding finance and accommodation

We did: PAs now have a standing agenda item for meetings with care leavers to include discussions around accommodation and finance

5. Customers said: a care agency had not provided consistent care, and that a suitable nursing care home had not been identified quickly enough

We did: Adult Social Care staff now review their deadlines for completing assessments and ensure that key people in assessments (service users, their family members and carers etc) are actively consulted to support good communication. Supervisors use a check list tool to undertake random file audits to ensure good practice is being followed

Complaint handling performance comparing 2015/16 and 2016/17

Area Response target2015/162016/17
   Complaints received Performance against response target Complaints received Performance against response target
Business Services 90% in 10 working days 57 98% 43 95%
Chief Executive's 117 76% 141 86%
Customer and Communities 21 84% 31 81%
Environment and Infrastructure 614 88% 561 91%
Adult Social Care 90 % in 20 working days (or longer by agreement) 201 86% 255 98%
Schools and Learning and Services to Young People 80% in 10 working days (extendable to 20 if necessary) 116

70% (within 10 working days)

82% (within 20 working days)


59% (within 10 working days)

85% (within 20 working days)

Children's Social Care 80% in 10 working days (extendable to 20 if necessary) 309

41% (within 10 working days)

69% (within 20 working days)


42% (within 10 working days)

64% (within 20 working days)

Total/weighted average   1,434 83% 1,569 86%

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGO) complaints 2016/2017

Graph showing number of complaints sent to the Local Government Ombudsman

This graph shows:

  • 88% of complaints were dealt with by us and did not escalate to the LGO
  • 10% of complaints that were received by the LGO were not upheld/taken forward.
  • 2% of complaints were upheld by the LGO

Comments and compliments

Comments include suggestions and recommendations or criticisms. Compliments are expressions of appreciation for excellent service that goes beyond day-to-day duties.