Bin collections and bus timetables - nine complaints upheld against RBWM

Weekly black bin collections face axe next year in Royal Borough budget draft

A total of 69 per cent of complaints made to the Windsor and Maidenhead council were upheld by a local authority watchdog, figures have revealed.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has published a report outlining how many complaints have been upheld against councils across England. 

Data reveals that a total of nine decisions have been upheld against the Royal Borough, which made up 69 per cent of the overall complaints investigated by the Ombudsman.

Statistics are based on a total of 13 detailed investigations for the period between April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021. 

The upheld complaints made against RBWM included: 

  • A resident, known as 'Mrs B', who complained that the council repeatedly failed to collect her bins on the scheduled day and return them to the agreed location outside her house. The Ombudsman found the council at fault and it agreed to apologise to Mrs B, make a payment as well as certain service improvements.
  • Another resident, 'Ms E', who complained about the Royal Borough's refusal to provide a grant to support her business, which suffered a loss of trade because of the pandemic. The watchdog upheld the complaint, finding fault in the council's consideration of Ms E's application for a discretionary grant, recommending the council 'reconsider its decision'. 
  • The Ombudsman also found fault with the council for not updating expired bus timetables in a timely manner, causing out of date information to be advertised. The Royal Borough agreed to complete the updates within twelve weeks and make a payment to a resident - 'Mr X'- who complained about the matter.
  • In another incident, a resident known as 'Miss Y' complained that the council did not provide her with suitable accommodation when she became homeless. The Ombudsman found fault with the council, which has agreed to apologise and paying 'Miss Y' £1,750.
  • Other complaints related to the council wrongly ceasing an education and care plan for a young resident, and concerns over the care given to an elderly resident who has since passed away.

On a positive note, the watchdog said that it was satisfied that, 100 per cent of the time, the council had successfully implemented its suggested recommendations. 

This figure was based on a total of seven compliance outcomes for the period between April 1 last year and March 31.

A Windsor and Maidenhead council spokesman said: “Most concerns raised with the council can be resolved without needing to make a formal complaint.

"If a formal complaint is, however, submitted then the council follows a clear process of internal investigation and we resolve the vast majority of corporate complaints this way, at the earliest possible opportunity.

“If the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of the internal complaints process, or the remedy offered by the council, then they have the right to approach the Ombudsman.

“When issues are identified through the complaints process, either via internal investigation or by the Ombudsman, we follow any recommendations arising, learn lessons and make any process or services changes required as swiftly as possible.

“We take comments and complaints seriously and continually strive to improve our services for residents.”

Elsewhere, Buckinghamshire Council saw two complaints made against it upheld by the Ombudsman (which made up 67 per cent of investigations), while Slough Borough Council saw only one (which made up 50 per cent). 

To view the data in full, visit www.lgo.org.uk/your-councils-performance 

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