Talking West Cheshire

Pioneering training will benefit Council tenants

24 April 2012

A group of Council tenants will be helping to resolve issues affecting other tenants after taking part in a pioneering training course.

Cheshire West and Chester Council has recruited the group to sit on the panel that deals with complaint review hearings.

The move - which will bring the hearings into line with the Localism Act - aims to bring a customer-focused perspective to the process.

And in what is thought to be a first for a local authority, the tenants have received formal training alongside Council officers who sit on the panel.

The training course with the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) equipped the tenant panel members with knowledge of the procedures involved in investigating and dealing with complaints.

Anne Flegg of the LGO said: “This is the first time that I have had the opportunity to train tenants alongside officers and as far as I am aware, it is a first for the LGO.

“Enabling tenants who will form part of complaint review panels to understand the process can only strengthen their ability to consider complaints in an unbiased and logical way.

“The session went well and the interaction between the tenants and Council officers was excellent. Everyone joined in fully.

“The tenants brought the ‘customer’ element into the case study and added an important and relevant perspective to the discussions.”

Councillor Herbert Manley, Executive Member for Prosperity, said: “We were delighted to discover that Cheshire West and Chester Council is the first organisation to train officers and residents collectively for complaint review panels.

“We hope by doing this our resident panel members feel empowered and included in the complaints process and have the same skills and ability as our staff.

“This groundbreaking move demonstrates the authority’s clear commitment to putting our tenants and leaseholders at the heart of all that we do.

“I am delighted that yet again Cheshire West and Chester Council has, in partnership with the Local Government Ombudsman Service, been in the vanguard of customer focused public services.”