COMPLAINING to Barrow Council is going to be speeded-up, councillors have decided.

The council’s formal complaints process is going to be made quicker to stop people getting frustrated, a meeting was told.

The council plans to reduce its current three-stage process to two to bring it into line with other councils.

Phil Huck, the council’s executive director told a meeting of the executive on Wednesday that it would cut the time people waited.

Mr Huck said: “I don’t want to give the idea that we get loads and loads of complaints because on average we get 30 a year. Some of those go through this whole formal process and some of them don’t.”

“This relates to only formal complaints made against the council rather than complaints about particular service. A much smaller number of complaints go forward to the Local Government Ombudsman for a decision.”

Complaints can involve a failure to provide a service, an inadequate standard of service, the treatment or attitude of staff or the council failing to follow proper procedure.

In future, complaints have to be acknowledged within five working days with a maximum of 10 days given for the council to investigate the complaint.

Anyone who then appeal against that decision must have their appeal acknowledged within five days and a full response in 20 working days.

Mr Huck said “Our existing policy was that there were three stages – the line manager of the service involved, then escalated by the individual up to assistant director and the final stage, if the individual is not satisfied, involves the directors. The changes will shorten the process significantly.”

Council leader David Pidduck said: “This speeds the process up and helps stops people getting aerated if they feel they have been neglected if they have made a complaint.”

The policy has to be ratified by the full council before being introduced.