Department for Work and Pensions

Department for Work and Pensions

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Jobcentre Plus, The Pension Service and the Disability and Carers Service provided services to 22 million customers in 2007-08, over 80 per cent of whom were satisfied with the services they received. But 70, 000 complaints were recorded in 2007-08. For those customers who do complain, the complaints system is easily accessible and the majority of complaints are handled directly by front-line staff. But this report finds that over 40 per cent of complainants remain dissatisfied, for a number of reasons relating both to the complaints process and to the outcome of their complaint. Recorded complaints account for some 20 per cent of all complaints received by Agencies. There is a risk that difficulties in recording complaints may mean that Agencies could miss early warnings of poor service, systematic errors, or problems with their processes. The report finds significant dissatisfaction with how complaints were handled: timeliness, knowledge of staff and adequacy of response given to customers' complaints, though Agencies' response times range from 72 to 99 per cent of their target response times. Improving the quality of responses could prevent complaints being unnecessarily escalated. Complaints handled effectively by front-line staff can be up to 40 times cheaper than those escalated up to the final stage of the internal process. There is, however, no consistently applied Department wide quality checking of responses given to complaints to determine whether they are handled effectively by staff across the three Agencies. The NAO estimates that the Agencies spent between Ap4.7 million and Ap6.2 million responding to their recorded complaints during 2007-08. This figure could be up to Ap11 million when both recorded and non-recorded complaints are considered. The Department also made compensation payments of Ap3.6 million during this period, as a result of complaints.2.14 Each Agency carries out analysis of the reasons why dissatisfied customers do not make complaints through its customer satisfaction surveys. ... that the maximum call charge from BT landlines to its 0845 number will be three pence per minute although calls from mobile phones, ... BOX 3 The cost of calling to complain may be a barrier for some customers Much of the Departmenta#39;s business is nowanbsp;...

Title:Department for Work and Pensions
Author:Great Britain. National Audit Office
Publisher:The Stationery Office - 2008-01-01


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