Fifers seeking housing assistance in Cowdenbeath have faced “abhorrent” treatment from council staff, according to a local councillor. 

A number of members of Cowdenbeath area committee also spoke of poor behaviour from public facing employees. 

Cllr Bailey-Lee Robb said he had been in Brunton House, the council's customer service centre in Cowdenbeath, a number of times in the past year to support constituents in need of temporary accoomodation, and was appalled by the attitude of some members of staff. 

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“The way they were treated and spoken to by staff and the general attitude of the staff towards what the council calls its customers was generally abhorrent,” he said. 

On one occasion, Cllr Robb said he was "taken aback" by the way a member of staff spoke to him.  

Central Fife Times: Cowdenbeath councillor Bailey-Lee Robb has slammed the conduct of some members of Fife Council staff.Cowdenbeath councillor Bailey-Lee Robb has slammed the conduct of some members of Fife Council staff. (Image: Fife Council)

He added: "I heard certain members of staff saying to customers 'If you don't take that house you won't get another one'.

"That is outwith their remit."

Cllr Lea McLelland had similar concerns: “There are so many issues right now within that team that we need them to come and face us.

“I have quite a few residents contacting me about things that are causing quite a bit of concern.

"They’re telling me that they believe housing officers have deleted them, then when I speak to the officers, those people will miraculously get a message and can then communicate with them.

"It sounds like they're being blocked."

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She added: “If they don’t come and face the committee they are essentially being given carte blanche to treat people how they wish.” 

The committee met on Wednesday to discuss a complaints update for the Cowdenbeath area from the executive director of communities.

It was generally positive with improvements across responsiveness and timescales from last year. 

However, Cllr Mary Lockhart claimed it presented a very different picture from the reality. 

The report to the committee had no complaints of inappropriate staff attitude or behaviour under the customer contact centre heading. 

Cllr Lockhart said: “From the constituents’ perspective, the picture is very different from the one we’re seeing from the report.”

It was pointed out that some complaints, if made to officers or services directly, may not have been logged properly. 

The committee also heard that complaints sent in by email will not be logged for the Cowdenbeath area if the postcode of the complainer is not included and can't be established.