• Case ref:
    201601495
  • Date:
    December 2018
  • Body:
    The City of Edinburgh Council
  • Sector(s):
    Local Government
  • Subject:
    repairs and maintenance
  • Outcome:
    Upheld, recommendations

Summary

Mr C complained about the council's appointment system for electrical and gas safety checks. In particular, that the council unreasonably attempted to access his property and did not offer flexibility over the time and dates of their appointments. Mr C also complained that the council failed to carry out a reasonable investigation into his complaints and that their communcation was poor.

We found that the council letters lacked clarity and gave incorrect information that the safety checks would be considered emergency repairs. We noted that the response to Mr C's complaint was delayed with vague communication and that there was a lack of referral on correspondence to the next stage of the complaints process. We also found that the council lacked flexibility in their approach to the safety checks and failed to follow their processes, incorrectly attempting to access Mr C's property when they had not exhausted all previous steps outlined in their process. Therefore, we upheld all of Mr C's complaints.

Recommendations

What we asked the organisation to do in this case:

  • Apologise to Mr C for the unacceptable delay in responding to his complaint. The apology should meet the standards set out in theSPSO guidelines on apology available at https://www.spso.org.uk/leaflets-and-guidance.

What we said should change to put things right in future:

  • Review the content of appointment letters for annual gas and electricty checks to accurately reflect the process of inspection, the process when access becomes a problem, and the specific time or time window of the scheduled appointment.

In relation to complaints handling, we recommended:

  • Communication regarding a complaint should clearly explain the stage which is being responded to. Staff should also ensure customers have been appropriately referred to the next stage in the process at that point.

We have asked the organisation to provide us with evidence that they have implemented the recommendations we have made on this case by the deadline we set.