At the Vale of White Horse District Council we aim to provide a high standard of service to all our customers, but we know that we don't always get it right first time. To help us improve we need you to tell us when you are not happy with any part of the service you have received from us or our contractors. This way we can take measures to ensure that it does not happen again.
This page outlines the steps to take if you feel we have failed:
- to provide a service
- to be courteous
- in our standards of work
- in our administration of procedures
- to adhere to our rules or regulations
- to provide you with the correct information
- to treat you fairly and properly
What to do if you have a complaint
If you feel that the service we have provided has fallen below the standard you expect, please complain. At this stage it would be helpful to talk directly with the officer you are dealing with, or their manager, and let them know what the problem is. We will investigate your complaint quickly and informally and it will not affect the service we provide to you.
Our response will include details of who to complain to if you are not happy with the outcome at this stage.
What to do if you are still not happy
What happens when you make a formal complaint?
Your complaint will go through the following procedure:
Stage one - We will confirm receipt of your complaint within two working days and will pass it to the relevant service manager or head of service. We will also establish what outcome you are seeking if that is not already clear. The relevant officer will then investigate your complaint and let you know the outcome within 20 calendar days.
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, within six weeks of the date of the stage one response, and ask for your complaint to be investigated further. You must explain why you are dissatisfied with the original response. We will let you know we have received your request and will pass it a member of an independent head of service (who is not associated with the Stage One complaint) or the chief executive. The relevant officer will investigate your complaint and advise you of the outcome within 20 calendar days.
Please note that your complaint and the council's response will be copied to your local ward councillor(s) so that they can represent the interests of their constituents, carry out case work more effectively, act as an advocate in resolving concerns or grievances and better understand the work of the council.
If, after following this 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. The LGO provides 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 422099.
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 monitoring officer - for more details about how to do this see How to make a complaint about a Councillor.
How we have dealt with complaints
In September each year the Audit and Governance Committee receives a report that reviews complaints received during the previous year. by analysing complaints the committee can identify any trends and suggest any service improvements. You can view copies of the annual complaints reports via the downloads section on the right-hand side of this page.
Last reviewed: 09 - 10 - 2017