SOLIHULL residents were less satisfied with the council over the last year, the authority’s review of complaints shows.
Overall complaints for council services increased 15.4 per cent, from 718 in 2017/18 to 830 in 2018/19, as anger over broken recycling bins boiled over.
Earlier this year the Solihull Observer reported how thousands of residents were left with recycling spilling onto the streets, as 30,000 faulty brown bins had to be replaced.
The council found a ‘manufacturing fault’ in the borough’s 76,000 plastic brown bins, which were distributed in March 2015.
Council chiefs said they would seek to recoup the £400,000 of taxpayers’ money spent replacing bins, which the council said it was seeking from manufacturer MGB.
Asked if the money had been repaid, a council spokesperson told the Solihull Observer today: “There is an on-going legal process therefore we are unable to provide any comment in relation to the matter at this time.”
There were 421 waste and recycling complaints in 2018/19, compared to 191 in 2017/18.
On Monday (October 28), the scrutiny board will review the level of complaints against Solihull Council lodged from May 2018 to April 2019.
Social work for children received 67 complaints, up from 59 in the previous year. In 2016/17 there were 60 complaints.
Two per cent of the 3154 families engaged by social services complained.
The main subjects of grievance were the children’s disability team, which received ten complaints, and the looked-after children team which also had ten issues lodged against it.
The council told us today that a change in management at the children’s disability team has fixed the communication issues which led to concerns. The majority of concerns were due to educational health care plans not being completed on time.
Solihull Council said plans to fix the delays included liaising with relevant schools to arrange reviews; appointing a link officer; ensuring social work support is included as required; reviewing staff levels; and separating of the assess and review functions.
The council also accepted that the looked-after children team had been communicating poorly with families and agencies. The council said the team had learnt new ways of communicating better with families.
The special educational needs assessment team received 45 complaints, up from 19 in the previous year. The council blamed an increase in requests for SEND services, understaffing and pressure from the Department for Education to provide places for special education needs.
It also pointed out there were 92 compliments for the council’s children’s services, including one from a child who received a Christmas voucher from the team, who said: “When I thought things were going horribly, this voucher came in the post and it brought a smile to my face! It just made my Christmas.”
The number of complaints against adult social care provision increased by one, year on year, to 58.
A total of 36 complaints concerned the adult social team, with 16 concerning outsourced companies.
The adult social care service also received 158 compliments for its work.