Failure to provide members of the public with feedback on issues they raise is damaging Fife Council’s image and credibility.
And staff are now being told they have to keep people up to date with what’s happening – or what’s not happening – about matters they’ve brought to the Council’s attention.
The lack of feedback was raised by Councillor Dave Dempsey, Conservative group leader, who highlighted a customer survey revealing only 43 per cent were satisfied with the way they were kept up to date with progress.
The same survey highlighted staff were courteous, polite and friendly in dealing with the public, and Cllr Dempsey said staff should be congratulated for this, but he expressed dismay at the lack of feedback concerning progress of issues.
He added: “It appears the contact centre is good at dealing with the public, but the rest of the Council is not.
“I’d like the outcome of this to be that councillors, officers, all staff, consider how does an issue look to them and is there something they could do to make life better.”
Councillor Peter Grant, SNP group leader, agreed this was an area where improvemt was needed.
He said: “If someone reports the street light outside their house is not working and it gets fixed, we don’t need to tell them as they can see for themselves. But if it doesn’t get fixed, we need to go back to them to tell them why and explain what’s happening.
“When something doesn’t happen or an issue doesn’t get resolved, the member of the public must get a phone call or email to let them know what’s happening before they have to get back to us.”
Council leader Alex Rowley said members didn’t get many people coming to see them to tell the about good experiences, but added that was to be expected.
“People don’t need the support of their councillor when things go well,” he said.
“It’s those who have had a poor experience. Yet often when councillors look into issues we find there is a reasonable excuse why something hasn’t happened.
“The Council is doing a lot of good, high quality work, but one area where there is room for improvement is in providing feedback to the public.”
The Council’s chief executive has been tasked with ensuring staff are fully aware of the need provide adequate feedback to the public.