Unhealthy snacks in gala day goodie bags and council staff smoking on duty were among complaints dealt with by Midlothian Council last year.
The local authority saw the number of complaints upheld on first investigation fall by nearly 10 per cent between 2017 and 2018. However, it revealed among those which merited investigation and action were concerns about the contents of bags handed to children at a local gala, the high traffic of buggies, wheelchairs and scooters at a school gate, and council workers spotted smoking on the job.
A report to the council revealed that a complaint by a parent about the contents of a goodie bag handed out at a local gala led to a “multi-service” response. It said: “Although it is volunteers who manage these events, the council heavily supports the events.”
Council involvement includes helping distribute vouchers for the goodie bags – a traditional part of most local galas – through the schools.
The report revealed: “The complainant had a valid point that the content of the bags was unhealthy and did not support the work of the schools or other services that promote healthy eating.”
The complaint led to an investigation into who was responsible for the contents of snack bags and the matter being raised with headteachers across the county as well as at gala committees. It was taken to stage two investigation by the local authority but most issues raised are resolved at the first stage of investigation.
Midlothian Council revealed that 84 per cent of complaints were upheld on initial examination in 2017, with the number falling to 75 per cent last year. Among the complaints were a number about council workers smoking.
The report revealed: “An influx of complaints were received from the public about staff smoking in either their council-owned vans or on council property, such as on school grounds etc. The smoking policy was reviewed and work undertaken to promote staff health and wellbeing.”
Complaints about the number of prams, scooters and wheelchairs using a school gate and surrounding pavement were also investigated and upheld, with action taken to widen the gate by over one metre.