Severn Trent blames poor human resources for increase in number of written complaints

Poor HR has been held as partly to blame for the huge rise in written complaints received by water supplier Severn Trent.

The company was hit by more than double the average number of complaints per connected property among water firms last year, it was revealed last week.

Severn Trent received 166 formal complaints for every 10,000 properties in 2006-07, according to a report by the Consumer Council for Water – a rise of 90% from the previous year.

A council spokesman told Personnel Today: “One of the contributing factors to this is poor HR. If you are a big company, training is a basic you have to get right, and it looks like Severn Trent did not get it right.”

Severn Trent said it was confident progress had been made in dealing with the number of complaints.

Martin Kane, the com­pany’s customer relations director, said: “We are aiming for a 30% reduction in total complaints by next year and are confident that our focus on better training and recruitment of skilled staff is having a direct impact.

“We have pulled ourselves out of a bad year and if the improvements continue as forecast, we believe we can achieve an overall reduction in the number of complaints.”

HR director Alec Luhaste was unavailable for comment.

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