THE number of complaints made against Merthyr Tydfil Council over the last two years has been revealed.
A report for the council’s standards committee on July 16 showed that there were 402 complaints to the council in 2020/2021 up from 334 in 2019/2020.
Of the 402 last year, nine were discontinued compared to five the previous year and 27 were deemed as not merited compared eight the year before.
There were 46 incidents of no response of outcome from the manager or department meaning there were communication issues between the relevant department and the complaints department and this number is up from 42 the previous year
There were 126 complaints not upheld compared to 115 the previous year and 61 resolved by the front-line compared to 13 the year before which means there was an informal resolution or agreement to a complaint.
There were 118 complaints upheld compared to 123 the year before and two withdrawn which is down from eight the previous year.
The complaints process contains two stages and in the first one a complaint will be sent directly to the manager of the department who will be asked to look into the complaint and try to resolve the issue within the service.
When a complaint has not been resolved, it will then be referred to the
head of service or senior management which is then known as a stage two complaint.
If a complainant has exhausted the complaints process and remains dissatisfied with the actions of the council then they are able to complain to the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales (PSOW).
The area with the highest number of complaints in 2020/2021 was recycling with 99 compared to 61 the previous year followed by refuse with 40 up from 26, council tax with 29 up from 20 and highways with 23 down from 38.
Then came staff with 20 up from 12, grass cutting and waste with 16 down from 17, housing with 16 up from 13 and fly tipping with 12 down from 14.
There were 10 complaints related to Covid-19 and 10 related to environmental issues down from 12 the previous year.
There were also 10 complaints about recycling centres which was the same as the previous year.
In terms of stage two complaints, there were three about staff, two about planning and one each about anti-social behaviour, blue badges, bus stops, business grants, environmental, HR, parking, recycling, refuse and regeneration.
Carys Kennedy, the monitoring officer at Merthyr Tydfil Council, said they are only comparing two years at the moment and it has been impacted by Covid.
She said: “There are some things which are more likely to happen during a Covid situation and the obvious one is the anti-social behaviour.
“During Covid lock down I think there were a lot of people who were complaining about anti-social behaviour.”
She said hopefully that will reduce and another officer said she had spoken with the complaints department which said it was because of Covid and there was nothing a lot worse and nothing that stood out outside of the ordinary.