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Make a general complaint

Please read the information below if you would like to make a general complaint. Details of how to submit your complaint are at the bottom of the page.

Before you submit a general complaint, please make sure that you have read the information about types of complaint we cannot look at to ensure that you are directing your concerns to the right place and to find out if the issue you are raising is eligible for the corporate complaints procedure.

Please do not email or use the online form for the following matters:

Highways:

  • First-time notification of a defect.
  • A request for an update on the progress of a defect that has previously been reported.
  • Notification that the condition of a previously reported defect has deteriorated.
  • Defects that have not been repaired but have been categorised and the associated timescale for repair has not been exceeded.
  • Disagreement with the categorisation of a defect following inspection.
  • Requests to re-open a closed report.

The above issues are not complaints and will not be dealt with under the corporate complaints procedure. You will need to refer these matters to Report It . 

Highways inspections are carried out in line with the Highways Safety Inspection Code of Practice and defects are assessed and prioritised for repair in accordance with this.  The complaints process will not escalate the repair of a defect above other defects that have been reported and are awaiting inspection and repair.

If you require further information about how your highways report will be dealt with please refer to our highways webpages.

Further information available on our website:

How correspondence sent to the customer feedback and complaints inbox will be dealt with

The use of the word ‘complaint’ does not automatically mean that someone expressing concern enters the complaints process. We will assess the nature of the concerns raised and will allocate the feedback or complaint in accordance with eligibility. If we have a specific process to deal with the issue, or where an appeal or legal procedure exists, then the complaint will be directed to the appropriate process and will not be dealt with under the corporate complaints procedure. 

Should a member of the public contact the council about a service they have received or experience they have had then this will be dealt with as an enquiry or comment. These types of correspondence can include suggestions for improvement, whether something can be done differently or an idea. General dissatisfaction with a council decision that has been made in line with policy or that is in respect of a council action that affects a community rather than one individual such as local highways issues will not be dealt with under the complaints procedure unless in exceptional circumstances. This type of feedback is essential for the service to understand where things are working well or where some improvement may be required. Some comments or enquiries will be noted but not responded to however it will be necessary in some instances for the service to carry out some investigation into the issues raised and provide a response.

Corporate complaints procedure

The council defines a complaint as an expression of dissatisfaction about an action or lack of action or about the standard of service, whether the action was taken or the service was provided by the us or a person or body acting on our behalf.

Examples of the types of complaints that the policy covers are:

  • Failure to provide a service that has been requested outside of advised timescales.
  • Inadequate standard of service.
  • Treatment by or attitude of a member of the council.
  • Failure to follow the appropriate procedure or policy.

Please note: this is not an exhaustive list and there will other types of complaint that will be applicable for investigation under the policy.

How will a complaint be dealt with?

Informal resolution

Where possible, every attempt should be made to deal with issues quickly and informally and at the point of service delivery. Most complaints will be addressed under this initial part of the process and Informal Resolution will normally be carried out by the relevant service area as business as usual. It is expected that Informal Resolution should take a maximum of 10 working days.

Informal Resolution is generally used for first time notification of an issue which is straightforward and can be resolved, requiring little or no investigation. There will be instances where complaints will not be suitable for Informal Resolution and these will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Complaints team

A matter will be escalated to the formal complaints stage normally because the concerns raised require a detailed investigation which may require a file or records review and staff interview.

Following referral of a complaint to the Complaints Team either by a citizen or by a service, the team will carry out an assessment of the complaint and any action that has been taken to resolve it at the informal resolution stage. The team will define the issues that require investigation from the information provided in the complaint. 

Stage 1 - local resolution

If a complaint is to be investigated under stage 1 then written confirmation will be provided to you, confirming this course of action and advising who the allocated investigating officer will be. You will also be informed of what matters will be included in the investigation.

In the majority of cases, the manager of the service that the complaint is about will carry out the investigation however in some cases it may need to be allocated to another manager outside of the service. 

The investigating officer is allowed 20 working days to carry out the investigation. This timescale starts from the day on which it has been decided that a complaint can enter the corporate complaints procedure at stage 1.

Stage 2 - review

The purpose of a stage 2 review is to provide an opportunity to identify where you feel that the complaint was not adequately investigated at stage 1. This may include highlighting where the stage 1 local resolution investigation and response is viewed as being incomplete or unclear in its outcome or whereby there is relevant evidence available that was not considered as part of the investigation at stage 1.

Please note: a Stage 2 Review will not re-investigate the stage 1 complaint.

You will need to explain in writing why you feel that the complaint should escalate to a stage 2 review and give clear reasons for this. A stage 2 review will not take place based solely on your disagreement of the outcome of the stage 1 or in circumstances whereby you have not provided a good reason or information to dispute it. If we do not think that a stage 2 review is appropriate, we will write to you to tell you why and advise the steps you can take should you be unhappy with this decision.

If a stage 2 review is to take place then the complaint will be passed to a senior manager within the council and the review will take place. The timescale to respond to complaints is 25 working days.

You will be informed that this will be the full and final response to your complaint and that you have the right to take your complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman, should you remain dissatisfied.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

If your complaint has been through all stages of our complaints procedure and are still unhappy, you can ask the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman to review your complaint. 

The Ombudsman investigates complaints in a fair and independent way - it does not take sides. It is a free service. 

The Ombudsman expects you to have given us chance to deal with your complaint, before you contact them. If you have not heard from us within a reasonable time, it may decide to look into your complaint anyway. This is usually up to 12 weeks but can be longer for social care complaints that follow a statutory process.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

Phone: 0300 061 0614

Text 'call back': 07624 811595

Opening hours - Monday to Friday: 8:30am to 5:00pm (except public holidays)

Make a complaint

  

Make a complaint online

You can fill out our online form which will be directed to the relevant department for you.
  

Make a complaint by email

You can email us along with attachments and supporting information.
  

Make a complaint by phone

Call: 0300 111 8000
Mini-com users: 01785 276207

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