The Auditor-General has released a report, Auckland Council: How it deals with complaints, finding a flexible process which makes it easy to complain but noting that the Council could do better in some aspects - particularly in collecting information from the complainant's perspective.
The Auditor-General makes two recommendations: that the Council collect and review information that is more comprehensive and use it to assess how effectively and efficiently it handles complaints, and that the Council report publicly about the effectiveness of its complaints-handling performance.
The report says the Council makes it easy for people to complain in various ways, including to any Council staff member or elected member. It says staff will try to deal with the issue straight away and if that is not possible, the complaint will be logged and dealt with according to the Council's complaints process.
"The Council has designed a process that is flexible enough to record all complaints, regardless of how they come into the Council and which department manages them, while trying to handle all complaints to a consistent standard
"The Council has a focus on resolving complaints and most are dealt with in a timely manner.
The Auditor-General says the Council has used complaints information to identify patterns and persistent or systemic issues so that it can investigate and fix them. The report notes there are many examples of the Council changing its practices to improve services as a result of complaints an other comments.
However, the Council could do better in some aspects, particularly collecting information from the complainant's perspective.
The report says the Council could be doing more in-depth interview research with people who lodge complaints.
"In my view, the Council should systematically collect and review enhanced performance information, including information from a complainant's perspective and information that will be more readily available with the new system [which is being introduced]. It should use this information to assess how effectively it deals with complaints and identify potential improvements to its complaint-handling process," the report says.