Posted: Thu 9th Apr 2020

Council ordered to pay woman who waited almost two years to have fence put up

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Apr 9th, 2020

Flintshire Council has been made to apologise and pay £500 to a woman who waited almost two years to have a fence put up.

The local authority originally agreed to provide it at her home in February 2017, but the resident filed a complaint after experiencing delays.

She later escalated her grievance to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales Nick Bennett after the council failed to provide updates on the situation.

The Ombudsman found while some of the hold ups were not within the authority’s control, a significant delay had been caused by staff wrongly believing that the woman, named only as Mrs X, had moved house.

As a result, they thought she no longer needed the fence and did not make arrangements for it to be installed.

A report published by Mr Bennett’s office has criticised the council’s handling of the issue after upholding her complaints.

It states: “The Ombudsman concluded that it was unacceptable that Mrs X had to wait almost two years for the installation of the fence that the council had offered in February 2017.

“He also found that the council’s step two complaint response in particular had been issued far in excess of the relevant timescales and that Mrs X had not been provided with timely or meaningful updates on when the council would be in a position to respond to her. As a result, the Ombudsman upheld both complaints.

“The Ombudsman recommended that the council apologise to Mrs X and make her a redress payment of £500 to reflect the failings that he identified.

“He also recommended that the council remind staff involved in complaint handling that complainants should be provided with timely and meaningful updates if it is not possible to issue a complaint response within the council’s timescales.”

The council has since said that improvements have been made to the complaints handling process by the planning, environment and economy department.
Mr Bennett has asked the authority to provide evidence of the actions taken.

He also recommended for it to review the department’s performance in responding to complaints.

Flintshire Council has been asked to comment.

Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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