FOI #4: Definition of Complaint & Dispute

City of Edinburgh Council is denying residents the right to put invoicing on hold whilst their complaints are investigated. Please bear in mind that this is after more than 10 years of mismanagement of projects, and 10 years of undue stress as well as many people having to put their lives on hold whilst CEC investigated internally, outwith public scrutiny.

Now, when residents are presented with bills, and they query these bills, they are being told they do not have the right to query them.

City of Edinburgh Council are justifying this by saying the complaints are not a dispute, and as such will not be put on hold.

Yet, at the same time CEC are “escalating complaints to Investigation Stage 2′”. To the layman this all seems rather convoluted.

So reekieleaks wrote a Freedom of Information Request (FOI) to CEC to find out where in the Council’s own guidelines the definition of complaint and dispute is so utterly at odds to common usage.

Reekieleaks sent the FOI on 31st March 2015. To follow the actual FOI, click here.

Dear Dame Bruce,

Could you please explain the difference between a complaint and a
dispute.

I have written to you separately, by email and letter. The letter
is pasted below:

———————————————————————

RE: Historic Statutory Notices: Complaint Stage 2: 1-12 Shaw’s
Square, Edinburgh

Many thanks for your letter of 26th March 2015, in response to my
letter to the Chief Executive on 13th March 2015. I had not been
made aware that you were going to respond to the concerns directed
to her (other than an automated response). But I thank you.

I shall write directly to Dame Bruce in full about your response,
shortly.

In the meantime, I do have two immediate questions arising from
your letter:

1) You replied that “due to the complexity of the points raised
within your communications we have escalated your complaint to the
Investigation Stage (Stage 2) under the provisions of the Council’s
Complaints procedure”.

As our concerns are now registered in your complaints process, does
this mean that you accept that the issues at hand are in dispute?
Or is a complaint not a dispute?

2) You stated in Response 4 “We will duly investigate any issues
raised by the respective owners being held liable for the costs of
the statutory notice works, and should any of these investigations
determine that an adjustment is required to the final accounts we
will take the steps necessary regarding any potential refunds”.

Could you clarify at what stage and how you propose to ‘duly
investigate any issues’? My understanding from the final part of
your letter “The letter states our final position on your
complaint”, is that you have closed negotiations.

These two statements seem contradictory.

Are we to suppose that you mean we have to be taken to court for
you to accept that the issue is in dispute, and to then
‘investigate the issues?

Or are you saying you are still open to addressing the problems
in a polite and civilised way prior to that unfortunate necessity?

I look forward to your reply.

Yours faithfully,

Simon Williams

 

 

 

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