How to make a compliment, comment or complaint
If you're paying someone a compliment, we'll send you an acknowledgement and make sure your comments are passed on to the staff concerned. We'll carefully consider all comments to see how we can improve our services.
If you're not satisfied with the service you've received from us, we hope that firstly you'll speak to the member of staff concerned, or their manager. This should help to get the problem sorted out to everyone's satisfaction as quickly as possible.
You might prefer for your complaint to be dealt with by someone else. If you decide to do this, you can email, write or telephone the council’s Complaints team, or you can complete the online form.
When submitting your complaint, please give us full details, and also indicate what you'd like us to do to put things right.
The council's Complaints Team can be contacted in writing at:
Finance, Governance and Support
Ground floor, Civic Centre
Phone: 01642 729814
Alternatively, you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a child or young person you can speak to an Advocate, this is someone who can act on your behalf or they can help you to have your say.
If you would like to speak to an Advocate the Children's Complaints Officer can contact them for you or you can contact them directly:
Your complaint will be investigated using either our Children's Complaints Procedure or our Corporate Complaints Procedure. We'll let you know which procedure we'll be using.
If your complaint is being investigated under the Corporate Complaints Procedure: find out more about the Corporate Complaints Procedure.
If you complaint is being investigated under the Children's Complaints Procedure, please carry on reading.
Stage 1 - local resolution
We try to resolve complaints as quickly as possible and the manager responsible for your services will deal with your complaint at this stage.
We may move your complaint directly to Stage 2 if we both agree that it would be more appropriate.
We will write to you within 3 working days whenever possible to let you know who will deal with your complaint.
A manager will normally contact you to discuss your complaint and try to resolve the issues within 10 working days.
If the manager is not able to look into your complaint fully within 10 working days, they will contact you to advise you, but they should take no more than 10 extra days to let you know what they can do to sort out your complaint.
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint or if the 20 working day timescale has elapsed, you have the right to move things onto Stage 2 of the complaints procedure.
Stage 2 - investigation
At this stage your complaint will be investigated by a Senior Manager/Independent Investigator. They'll be the Investigating Officer, and will be someone who doesn't work for the service you're complaining about.
If you are a child or young person under 18 or your parents or carers are complaining about the services you are receiving, an Independent Person from outside the Local Authority will be involved to ensure that your complaint is investigated properly and fairly.
The Investigating Officer and Independent Person will meet with you to agree the details of your complaint and your desired outcome.
You should receive a written response within 25 working days of your complaint being agreed with the Investigating Officer.
Where it is not possible to complete the investigation within 25 working days, Stage 2 may be extended to a maximum of 65 working days but the Investigating Officer will discuss any delays with you.
Both the Investigating Officer and Independent Person will prepare a report of their findings and offer to meet with you to go through the report.
We will send you a copy of the final report. A Senior Manager will also write to you confirming their response to the report, their decision on the complaint, actions they will be taking and the timescales for these actions. This process is known as the adjudication process.
Stage 3 - review panel
You will have 20 working days from receipt of the Local Authority's response to request a Review Panel.
The independent Review Panel will take place within 30 working days of your request, where possible.
The purpose of the Review Panel is not to reinvestigate your complaint. The Review Panel will:
- listen to all parties
- consider the adequacy of the Stage 2 investigation
- focus on achieving resolution for the complainant by addressing his/her clearly defined complaints and desired outcomes
- obtain any further information and advice that may help resolve the complaint to all parties' satisfaction
- reach findings on each of the complaints being reviewed
- make recommendations that provide practical remedies and creative solutions to complex situations
- to identify any consequent injustice to the complainant where complaints are upheld and to recommend appropriate redress
- recommend any service improvements for action by the authority
Further information will be provided to you at this stage.
If you're still not satisfied
If you're not happy with the way your complaint is being handled, you can contact the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO). The LGSCO is responsible for investigating complaints about councils.
You can approach the Ombudsman at any point during the investigation of your complaint, however they will usually advise that you should follow the fully utilise the Council's complaints procedure before they will give consideration to reviewing your complaint after the completion of Stage 3.
Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman
PO Box 7441