Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Review of complaints process

Rotorua's council has approved a review of its formal complaints process in an effort to streamline the system and resolve issues more quickly.

Rotorua district councillors voted unanimously to go ahead with the complaints policy review at a meeting of the council's corporate and customer services committee yesterday.

In her report to councillors, corporate planning and support manager Oonagh Hopkins said the 2009 complaints policy was now out of date and needed review.

She said the old policy "did not appear to address the seriousness of review and resolution received by council ... some improvements have been identified that can be implemented to distinguish a formal complaint and to add greater assurance around the treatment and resolution of serious complaints".

Mrs Hopkins said since the council introduced its new-look customer centre staff were able to receive feedback more frequently. "As increasing focus is centred on the performance of councils country-wide, now is the time to look at whether the distinction between feedback verses a formal complaint is accurate and that formal complaints are given the appropriate level of research, consideration and response."

Mrs Hopkins said that at this stage the council did not keep full records of all complaints or feedback received by staff so it was difficult to calculate how many complaints the council received.

"Presently, there is no clear distinction of a formal complaint, council has not defined what this is."

She said a formal complaint required a formal response from the council after an assessment or review/investigation had been made. Formal complaints were also to be differentiated from requests for information, a request for service, a suggestion, or a matter of fact.

Mrs Hopkins said staff would now work on a draft complaints policy which would be brought back to the next committee meeting in April for further discussion.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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