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Young people's perceptions of complaints procedures in local government

By Carol Brennan, Alison Galloway and Susan Thompson


This study examined 46 young people aged 16–24 years and evaluated their knowledge and awareness of the formal complaints procedures used by local government. Two areas in Scotland, one city (Edinburgh) and one town (Stirling), were chosen to participate in the study. Six focus groups, three in each area, were carried out to identify the level of awareness among the respondents and to permit a cross-section of educational backgrounds to be obtained. A questionnaire was used to assemble a profile on each participant. After analysis of the focus groups, a focused interview with the Corporate Complaints Officers from two councils was undertaken. Each interview incorporated an in-depth discussion regarding the formal complaints procedure while focusing on the young people within their constituency. The research revealed that young people's knowledge and awareness of local government complaints procedures is low, regardless of educational background and area of residence. For a minority, social factors such as confidence and competence do play a role although it is mainly organizational barriers, such as lack of information and access, which are the main causes of the problem. A number of young people indicated that they would complain if they knew how to execute a complaint successfully. The service providers were knowledgeable that awareness is low among this age group

Year: 2002
OAI identifier: oai:eresearch.qmu.ac.uk:886
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