30 October 2017

Page 3

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Cricket clash SEAFORD took on Frankston South’s Baden Powell seniors in a District match at the weekend as this year’s cricket season gets into full swing. See Sports Page 38. Picture: Andrew Hurst

Watchdog barks at councils Neil Walker neil@baysidenews.com.au A REPORT released by the Victorian Ombudsman this month revealed 71 complaints about Frankston Council were made to the watchdog over a 12-month period but The Times has found just over 15 per cent of complaints were referred to council.

The Ombudsman’s annual report released on Monday 16 October listed the number of complaints about each of Victoria’s 79 councils received by the watchdog during the 2016-17 financial year. Frankston was listed as the 21st most complained about council to the state watchdog that has the power to investigate state government departments and agencies, councils and

statutory authorities. The Times asked the Ombudsman’s office how many of the 71 complaints about Frankston Council were investigated and substantiated. A statement provided from Ombudsman Deborah Glass said complaints about councils “range from issues such as parking infringements, rates and how complaints are handled, to improper conduct and poor governance”.

“We encourage councils to ‘learn to love complaints’ as each complaint is free feedback about what someone thinks,” Ms Glass said. “We have also issued a good practice guide for complaint handling in local government to help local councils do it better, as all too often, we see complaints about how a council has handled someone’s complaint. “We have also recommended that the

government change the law so it is easier for agencies to apologise without exposing themselves to legal action. Saying sorry is often the most effective way councils and other public bodies can resolve a dispute with a member of the public. “In the many cases where someone has a legitimate grievance, an apology can be a powerful remedy.” Continued Page 4

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