NO changes have been recommended to a local authority’s complaints system despite confusion over how it works.

Politicians have previously expressed concerns that residents who thought they had complained to Wrexham Council may not have had them registered.

It came after officers revealed that the figures do not include initial reports where members of the public express their annoyance over issues such as potholes or missed bin collections.

Instead, the authority has a three stage process where only repeated problems which have not been resolved by departments are escalated to a formal level.

As a result, councillors said they felt the way complaints were classified was ‘too narrow’ and asked for it to be reviewed.

However, in a report, a member of the council’s ruling administration has insisted that any changes to the policy would be ‘unfair’ as the same process is used across Wales.

Cllr David Kelly (Ind), lead member for planning and corporate services, said: “The model policy has been adopted by the public sector across Wales and therefore provides customers with a consistent approach to the management of complaints.

“Data on complaints is regularly published by the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales which, given the common approach to policy and procedure, allows for a fair comparison of performance across Wales.

“Any changes to the policy adopted by Wrexham which increases the number of concerns reported as a “complaint” will undermine this consistent approach and provide an unfair comparison with the rest of the Wales Public Sector.”

He added: “Members currently receive an annual report on council performance which encompasses formal and informal complaints, customer contact and customer satisfaction.

“This information should provide members with sufficient data to assess the overall performance of the council with respect to customer service.”

Figures contained within the report show the council’s customer services team was contacted about missed bin collections more than 7,100 times during the first six months of 2018/19 .

Of those only 37 were registered as formal complaints, while 190 were said to be ‘informal’.

It meant almost 6,900 cases were not classed as complaints because they were resolved after the first contact.

During a previous meeting, Cllr Geoff Lowe (Ind) said he was unhappy with the ‘pecking order’ which  exists.

But in his report, Cllr Kelly warned backbenchers of the possible consequences of alterring the process.

He said: “Under the current procedure all complaints are required to have a formal investigation conducted by the corporate complaints team.

“This would be unachievable given the volume of potential “complaints” if these were to include service failures.

“All complaint responses are required to refer the complainant to the Ombudsman should they remain dissatisfied.

“Referrals from Wrexham Council would vastly increase and provide an unfair comparison with the rest of the public sector

“As service failures are in the main resolved to the customer’s satisfaction upon the initial report it is unclear what benefit customers would derive from such a change.”

The complaints policy will be discussed by members of the authority’s customers, performance, resources and governance scrutiny committee this week.