Making a complaint
When things go wrong we aim to put things right quickly, informally and without fuss. However, a formal complaints procedure is available if we are unable to resolve a customer's complaint on an informal basis. To access a copy of the complete Complaints Policy, please click here. Below is a summary of the key points.
You can make a complaint if the Council:
- Does something wrong
- Fails to do something it should have done, or
- Does something it should not do
- Provides a poor standard of service
It is NOT treated as a complaint when:
- You are asking for a service, for example by reporting a faulty street light or a pothole
- You are appealing against a decision which, although it is not the one you wanted, has been properly formed
If your complaint is about the conduct of a member of staff , rather than their delivery of a service, these are normally dealt with under our code of conduct for staff or through our internal disciplinary policy and procedure. The line manager or another senior officer will usually investigate any complaint about a member of staff and it may be necessary for them to contact your for further information regarding the matter.
You will be advised at the time you make your complaint, which elements of your complaint can be dealt with under the complaints process set out above and which will be dealt with under the Council’s internal management arrangements.
We take complaints against staff very seriously but it will not usually be possible to keep you informed of the detailed progress of an investigation or to advise you of the specific outcome of any disciplinary action taken. We will advise you, however, what action has been taken to resolve your complaint.
Complaints which are unclear or very general may be difficult to investigate and the Council may ask that more information be provided by the complainant.
The Council also has a policy for "unreasonable" or "persistently unreasonable" complainants. This policy will be applied to any person showing aggressive behaviour towards staff , threatening behaviour, abuse or threatened or actual physical harm. It will also apply to a person presenting the same issue (or with minor differences) repeatedly and who does not accept the explanations and outcomes.
How to make a complaint
To submit a complaint online against a council service, please click on the ‘Do it online' tab and then complete the submit a complaint form.
Alternatively, you can make a complaint by e-mail, telephone, letter, or in person at the Council office dealing with the issue. We also have a form available at reception areas for this purpose. If you are unsure how to proceed, please contact our Corporate Complaints Team by clicking on the Contact tab above.
The Complaints Procedure
If you make a complaint, you:
- Will not suffer any penalty or discrimination as a result
- Will have your complaint acknowledged, taken seriously, investigated
- Will receive a reasoned, courteous and honest response
- Can expect us to try to understand things from their point of view
- Will be advised of any appropriate sources of free advice and advocacy provided outside the Council
In order for us to give proper consideration to a complaint and to be clear about appropriate resolutions, we ask you to:
- Tell us clearly what has gone wrong with as much factual information as possible
- Give us the information we ask for
- Tell us what you would like us to consider doing to put things right
- Make any special needs known to us as soon as you can
- Remain calm and treat our staff in a courteous way
- Remember that we are trying to help
There are two stages to the complaints process as detailed below,all initial contact with you will be made via the Nominated Complaints Officer (NCO) assigned to the service:
- Stage 1: Your complaint will be acknowledged within three working days and the NCO will let you know which Service Manager is investigating your complaint. Following a full investigation, you will receive a reply (within 20 working days).
- Stage 2: The response at stage 1 will include confirmation of who you should contact if you remain unhappy. This will normally be a Head of Service, who will review all the information available, let you know what the service response to the complaint is and confirm what actions will be taken as a result of the complaint.
If you remain dissatisfied after Stage 2, you will be advised who you can approach. Normally this will be the Local Government Ombudsman.
Local Government Ombudsman
The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) looks at complaints about councils and some other authorities, including education admissions appeal panels. It is a free service and complaints are investigated in a fair and independent way and the Ombudsman decides if any injustice has been caused to the complainant through maladministration. Once you have completed the Council's complaints process, if you remain dissatisfied, you can call the LGO Advice Team on 0300 061 0614 or go to their website at www.lgo.org.uk. Alternatively you can write to the Local Government Ombudsman, PO Box 4771, Coventry, CV4 0EH.