How to make a comment, complaint or suggestion
The council is always keen to receive comments, complaints, compliments and suggestions about the services we provide. Feedback from the public, whether good or bad, is important to enable us to improve our services and those provided by our contractors.
We would particularly like to know if we:
- Do something wrong
- Fail to deliver a service
- Do not treat you fairly or courteously
We would also like to know what:
- Your experience of our services has been
- You think can be done to improve our services
- You have been particularly happy with.
There are a number of ways you can contact the Council:
- In writing to the service dealing with your enquiry using our freepost address at Vale of White Horse District Council, FREEPOST, Abbey House, Abingdon, OX14 3YB
- In person at our offices at the Abingdon Local Services Point, Abbey House, Abingdon, OX14 3JE
- By telephone to 08457 125 497. Calls are charged at the Local Rate
- By .
Our complaints procedure
Please first contact the council to discuss your complaint. We monitor all comments, complaints, compliments and suggestions and aim to resolve any issues at an early stage. We will acknowledge your complaint within two days of receipt and advise you of the name of the officer who will deal with it.
Stage one - The officer will investigate your complaint and let you know the outcome within 15 working days from receipt of complaint. If your complaint is complicated, you will be sent a holding reply or progress report explaining that you will receive a full response within 28 working days from receipt of your complaint. If you need our written response to you to be in an alternative format (e.g. large print), please advise us of this.
If you are not satisfied with the response you receive, you can escalate your complaint to stage two.
Stage two - The next step is to write to the chief executive and ask for your complaint to be investigated further. The chief executive will acknowledge your complaint and pass to the relevant strategic director. The strategic director will investigate your complaint and advise you of the outcome within 15 working days. If your complaint is complicated, you will be sent a holding reply or progress report explaining that you will receive a full response within 28 working days from receipt.
If you are not happy with the strategic director's response, you can go to stage three.
Stage three - If you are still not satisfied, you can write to the chief executive and ask for district councillors to consider your complaint. (You must do this within six weeks of the strategic director's reply). In your letter you must explain why you are not satisfied. You may need to provide extra information to support your claim. The chief executive, in consultation with the leader of the council and leader of the opposition, will then decide whether or not to refer your complaint to district councillors. If you prefer, you can bypass this stage and take your complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman; details of how to do that are given below.
If after following the council's procedure you are still not satisfied with the outcome, you can refer it to the Local Government Ombudsman via their website or by calling 0300 061 0614 or 0845 602 1983. The LGO is a free, impartial and independent service.
If you are unable to put forward your complaint in writing, due to disability or limited English, please call us on 01235 520202.
How we have dealt with complaints
The Local Government Ombudsman has written an annual letter (22 June 2012) covering how the Vale of White Horse District Council has dealt with public complaints over the past year (2011/12) and we have published details of the numbers of the complaints we dealt with over the same year.
Complaints about planning, licensing and benefits decisions
Many of the general complaints we receive are specifically about planning applications. In our experience, some people who have applied for planning permission use the general complaints procedure because they are not happy with the council turning down their application. The general complaints procedure is not usually appropriate because these people have the legal right to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate . In these circumstances, we will usually choose not to deal with the complaint under the general complaint procedure, referring the complainant to the separate planning appeal process. This also applies to complaints about decisions on licensing applications or applications for benefits, which use separate complaint processes.
How to make a complaint about the conduct of a Councillor
Please note if you wish to make a complaint about the conduct of a Councillor you need to submit your complaint to the council's Standards Committee - for more details about how to do this see How to make a complaint about a Councillor.
Last reviewed: 02 - 05 - 2013