How to complain to the 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 improve services, we need to know when you are not happy with any part of the service you have received from us or our contractors. 

If you feel that the service we have provided has fallen below the standard you expect, please complain.

We will thoroughly investigate your complaint, and it will not affect the service we provide to you.

What to do if you're still not happy

Please click the button below if you want to make a formal complaint. 

Make a complaint

What happens when you make a formal complaint?

Formal complaints will go through the following procedure:

Stage one - We will confirm receipt of your complaint within one working day and will pass it to the relevant service manager. 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 15 working 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 and what you are hoping to achieve by pursuing a stage two investigation. We will let you know we have received your request and will pass it to the head of service for the relevant service area. The head of service will investigate your complaint and advise you of the outcome within 15 working days.

If, after following this procedure, you are still not satisfied with the outcome, you can refer your complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) via their website or by calling 0300 061 0614. The LGO provides a free, impartial and independent service.

Please note that if you are a Parish Council, Town Council or Elected Member, you will not be able to take your complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman, as the LGO will not hear complaints from the aforementioned parties.

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: 17 - 01 - 2020

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