A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction about something we said we would do and didn't, or a poor standard of service. This could either be by ourselves or a contractor acting on our behalf.
What is not a complaint?
A complaint is not:
- A request for service (e.g. noise problems)
- A request for information or an explanation of our policy (e.g. level of Council tax set)
- Matters for which there is a right of appeal to an independent tribunal (e.g. planning applications).
How to make your complaint
Stage 1 (Initial contact)
If you wish to complain about a service, express an opinion on services or policy, give praise or make a suggestion, you are able to do this by telephone, email, correspondence, eform (see forms on the right) or in person if you wish at the Town Hall.
Complaints will be responded to within 10 working days. This enables the manager to conduct a full investigation of the complaint, in order to provide a full response to you. When this is not possible, a timescale for a full response will be given.
Stage 2 (Escalation)
If you feel the response to your complaint under stage one is unsatisfactory, the next stage is for the complaint to be referred to the Customer Services Management Team who investigate and liaise with the relevant service head.
Complaints will be responded to within 10 working days. If an interim reply is needed, you will be given a timescale by which a full reply will be received.
Stage 3 (Chief Executive)
If you feel the response to your complaint is still not satisfactory, you must advise us within one calendar month of the date of the response from stage 2 otherwise the case will be closed. The Chief Executive/or Director will then review the processes followed. At this stage all communication will be with the Chief Executive/or Director. A full response will normally be given within 10 working days.
If by this stage you have not already involved one of your ward Councillors, then you may wish to do so. The role of your Councillor will depend on the issue being investigated. Borough Councillors' names by ward can be found on this website with telephone numbers and email addresses. If you do not have access to the internet/email then you can telephone us for your Councillor's details on 01372 732000.
Stage 4 (Local Ombudsman)
If you are unhappy with the results of stage 3, you may take your complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman (see contact details below). The Ombudsman is an independent person appointed by the Government to look at complaints. This is a free service.
In most cases, before they can investigate a complaint, we must have had a chance to answer it. If you have not complained to us, please do so before contacting the Ombudsman direct.
The Ombudsman will ask us what has been done so far to resolve the complaint. They may feel that every reasonable action has been taken or may decide to look into the matter further. When the Ombudsman investigates a complaint, Councillors and employees may be interviewed. A report is made to you and to us and where appropriate, action will be recommended, dependent on the Ombudsman's findings.
A booklet 'Complained to the council? Still not satisfied?' is available on the Ombudsman's website.
Contact details are:
Local Government Ombudsman
PO Box 4771
Tel: 0300 061 0614 or 0845 602 1983