How we deal with complaints
We have processes to follow to make sure that every complaint is dealt with fairly and sorted out as quickly as possible. For most complaints there are different stages that we follow:
Where possible, a member of our team will do their best to resolve the issue for you. If you are not happy with the outcome of this you can go through a formal complaints procedure.
Formal stage one
Your complaint will be handled by the service you're complaining about. If you’re not happy with the response, you can ask for it to be moved to stage two.
Formal stage two
Your complaint will be answered by the Corporate Complaints Team, who are independent of the department your complaint is about.
Complaints that are dealt with differently
For adults or children's social care complaints, we are governed by legislation which means we have to follow a different procedure:
In all cases we will:
Let you know that your complaint has been received within 3 working days.
- Provide you with a full response within 10 working days, or explain why it might take longer.
- Give you details of who has investigated your complaint and their decision on it.
Advise you on how to take your complaint further if you are still unhappy with the result.
In some cases, at any stage of the complaints process, it may be considered that Mediation Services would be the best way to resolve a complaint, in which case this option may be offered as a way forward. The Mediation Service is independent of the Council and mediators are trained to be impartial and help support both sides in finding solutions that work.
Dealing with repeating complaints
We are committed to dealing with all complaints fairly and impartially, and to providing a high quality service to those who make them. However, there are occasions when contact from a complainant becomes too frequent or complex that it hinders our consideration of their complaints, or those made by other people. We refer to such complainants as either vexatious or unreasonably persistent, and in such cases we may take action to limit the contact the complainant has with us. Such occurrences are rare, and we will first write to the complainant to advise that their contact is no longer considered reasonable.
If you'd like to take things further
We really hope we are able to resolve any complaints you might have. If however, you are unhappy with the action we have taken, you may want to contact the Local Government Ombudsman.
The LGO can be contacted by phone on 0300 061 0614.
You can write to the LGO at:
The Local Government Ombudsman,
PO Box 4771
You can contact the LGO at: http://www.lgo.org.uk/ and complete their online form.
The Ombudsman service is independent of the Council and is the final stage of the complaints process. The Ombudsman may decide to investigate your complaint, or will provide you with reasons why they will not, according to their role and powers. During their investigation, they will ask questions of the Council regarding your complaint. The Council will fully cooperate with their enquiry to enable them to make a decision as to whether we have acted unfairly in our service provision, or in considering your complaint.
Once you refer your complaint to this service, the Council will be unable to transact with you about this complaint, and any further contact concerning it will be between the Ombudsman and the Council directly. More information on the Local Government Ombudsman service can be found on their website at: http://www.lgo.org.uk/
The complaints process cannot be used to challenge statutory or regulated service decisions as these follow a different process. For example parking or bus lane fines, taxi licensing or premises licensing. However if there is dissatisfaction with the way the service has been provided, the complaints process can apply.