Site Search


Thursday, 25 September 2008

Hull CC Complaints unit.

Our council here in Hull (Kingston-upon-Hull to give it its full and proper name) has a Complaints Unit. They can be contacted via any means possible except email. I find that in a world where email personifies communications the fact that the one, possibly the most used, area not available via email contact is complaints.

That said, the available complaints procedures are limited in scope and would certainly scare the less intelligent of the local populace (and our Lord knows there are plenty of those here) away from using said service.

We have not as yet used the service but we know plenty of people who have and they say the procedures are so bad the majority would never use it again. In and effort to understand why those who have used the service find it so bad I went out on a crusade to gather as much information from those people as was possible. One area that stood out time and time again was that while it was easy to start a complaint (email not withstanding) once the procedure was underway the nightmares began. Stalling was one complaint. Another was lack of resolution. After gathering as much information is possble over a 9 month period the only conclusion I can come to is that HullCC make it as difficult as they possibly, and legally, can, probably in the hope that the number of complaints go down thereby making it look like the people here have nothing to complain about.

At this time we are considering, or rather was considering, putting in 2 complaints. The fact that there is no email contact has forced us to have a rethink. The 2 complaints we have are as follows:

1) When we were first told of the availabilty of this house we came to have a look. The house itself had had some major work done in it as the previous tenant had deliberately broken a major water pipe (I will leave it to your imagination the   amount of damge that was caused). While the internals of the house had had major work done there was plenty of small to not so small problems that still remained. Before we had moved in the then Housing Officer assured us that any and all remaining problems we found once reported would be fixed. We followed his advice and rang the relevant number with a long list of remaining problems. They sent a  guy round to identify all the problems and he then let the relevant departments know. They all came and fixed nearly all  what the should fix. There are however some remaining and after call after call to them saying what the problems are that still need fixing they remain  steadfastly not fixed.

2) The Housing Officer that was then has now moved elsewhere and we have a new one. She is utterly useless at the job and is frankly totally uncaring. Her attitude is one of "You should be thankful for the house".

3) Before we moved in and with the previous Housing Officer he agreed that the state of both front and back garden should be and would be sorted. 1 year later we are still waiting. The small garden out front is a mass of weeds and a small tree has overgrown. The current Housing Officer has said "The gardens are not our problem". A comment we happen to agree with but as the previous Housing Officer had given us assurances that becuase of the state of said gardens BEFORE we had moved in they remain a council problem and the council should sort them out. We are now in no mans land as we have the agreement with the previous Housing Officer which the current Housing Officer does not care about. Her  exact words were  "The problems are yours and you should pay someone to sort the gardens out". Not exactly nice or correct as the previous Housing Officer has given us assurances that "Because the problem of the gardens was evident before you move in that the gardens are a council problem and the council will send someone around after you move in to sort the gardens out for you". Of course, to this day that never happened and because we have an uncaring Housing Officer for these parts now our chances of getting those jobs done that was a part of our agreement when first signing for this council house are seemingly nil.

It would seem from talking with other residents on this and other council estates we are not alone in having agreements broken and not alone in not liking the current complanins setup of our council. Whether they will take any notice of this or the emails sent or even the written letter sent to them remains to be seen. One thing is for sure though and that is something must change before the council becomes mistaken in thinking all residents are happy as tey have not complained. If the procedure to complain remains an obstical to complaining then that alone explains why people will not complain.

No comments: