Laura Sharman 07 October 2021

Council apologises for backlog of hundreds of noise complaints

Council apologises for backlog of hundreds of noise complaints image

A backlog of hundreds of noise complaints has been uncovered at Calderdale Council following an investigation by the ombudsman.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman launched the investigation after a woman's complaint about noise nuisance and waste build-up on a neighbouring property was not dealt with properly.

It found the council had a backlog of 200 other noise complaints yet to be investigated, due to a large increase in the number of complaints at the same time the team was affected by shielding and self-isolation.

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said: 'While I understand the unprecedented pressures councils were under during the height of the COVID-19 situation last year, they still had a duty to pay heed to the principles of good administrative practice, and communicate appropriately with the woman about her concerns.

'The council’s service was beset with a number of issues, including failing to log some of her complaints, and when it did look at her concerns, its investigations were delayed.'

The council has agreed to write to all those with live noise complaints to apologise for the delay, and will develop an action plan to make sure it investigates any ongoing noise complaints as soon as possible. It will also apologise to the woman and pay her £600 in compensation.

Cllr Jane Scullion, Calderdale Council’s deputy leader, said: 'We are committed to providing the best possible service to all our residents. During the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, our resources have been focused on keeping people as safe as possible from COVID-19. We accept that we made mistakes with this complaint, and the service which this resident received did not meet our usual high standards.

'We have taken on board all of the Ombudsman’s recommendations and we’re making changes to the way we handle noise complaints to ensure these issues don’t happen again. This includes developing a new logging system and new ways to keep residents updated on progress with their complaints about noise.

'We have significantly reduced the backlog of noise complaints and have contacted all complainants.'

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