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Birmingham City Council

Learning from customer feedback

How your feedback is helping to improve Local Services

Your views as a customer of Local Services are very important to us. Your complaints and suggestions help us to review and improve the services you receive, whether it's housing, leisure centres, libraries, refuse collection and so on. On this page you'll find examples of how your views have influenced service improvements.

Most people enjoy a bit of praise now and then and the Council is no exception. So when we do something well it’s good to know. If you would like to praise an individual, a team or a service we would like to hear from you on our Your Views page. We can then share your comment with the relevant member of staff, team or service and share their best practices with other services across the Council. Here's just a few compliments Local Services has received recently.

How your complaints have helped to improve services

Nature of Complaints

How We Responded

Repairs

  • We found that poor record keeping was a root cause of many complaints about repairs. In response, we improved our systems, logged in post and stepped up auditing of these systems.
  • We created an online form for customers to make follow-up enquiries about exsisting repair requests.

Delays in processing housing applications. Customers not being able to speak to staff about their application as phone lines very busy.

  • To speed up the time taken to process applications and respond to peaks in demand for the service, we increased the resources available and have now significantly improved the speed in which decisions are made. This will reduce the number of avoidable calls from customers chasing the progress of their application and, in turn, make it easier for customers to contact the service.

Delays in homeless applications being processed. Types of temporary accommodation offered to some homeless applicants with medical needs or disabilities not being suitable.

  • Our investigation found that a backlog of Health and Housing applications contributed to homeless applications being held up. Through increased strategic focus and by moving existing resources into the Health and Housing team, the backlog of applications has been reduced from 26 weeks in February 2012 to 12 weeks in June 2012, with a further target to continue to reduce this to less than 10 weeks.
  • To deal more quickly with applicants who present as homeless and also have a medical need for housing, the Homeless Team now collect information about medical needs and disabilities at the time of taking homeless applications. This ensures that that the Health and Housing team prioritise applications from people who are homeless.
  • To ensure suitability of temporary accommodation provided for people with medical needs, the Homeless Team now ensure information relating to disabilities and medical needs are accurately recorded and a Health and Housing form is completed at the same time as the homeless application.
  • The service has also recently increased the availability of adapted temporary accommodation, taking on 27 adapted units through the Private Sector Leasing Scheme.
  • Communication and co-ordination between the Homeless Team and Health and Housing Teams has been improved. The two teams now have the same head of service and joint management team meetings are held. The function of the teams have been centralised and they are now co-located in the same building, which has improved cross-service working arrangements.
  • Following a review of Senior Officers Review Panel’s (SORP) operating principles, it has been re-launched under new management arrangements. A process for submitting paperwork to the panel has been implemented to improve record keeping and ensure that complete and accurate information is available to the panel.