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Complaint log 'meaningless'

By Mid Devon Gazette  |  Posted: September 04, 2012

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DOUBT has been cast on a report which painted a favourable picture of the way Mid Devon District Council dealt with complaints.

According to the document, the number of complaints received in the year 2011-2012 was down by 11 on the previous year to 264, while compliments were up by 77 to 316 on the previous year.

But it was revealed at a meeting of the authority's cabinet on Thursday that not all complaints had been included in the figures due to the way a complaint is defined.

A 'complaint' is said by the council to be "any situation in which residents are dissatisfied with the service they have received or dissatisfied by the council's response to a request for a service".

This does not include routine "requests for services" such as reporting everyday problems, or initial requests for action (such as reporting a noise nuisance or a council house repair.

Complaints about issues such as missed refuse collections are instead recorded as 'service requests' rather than complaints and were not included with the figures in the report.

Councillor Kevin Wilson said complaints dealt with by councillors were also left out of the report and the figures were therefore meaningless.

Responding to the criticism at last week's cabinet meeting Cll Neal Davey said: "If you buy some lemons from a supermarket and you get them home and find that they're bad, you take them back to the supermarket and they replace the item, with no complaint logged."

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