Feedback and complaints
We do our best to give you great services, but there’s always room for improvement. We value your comments and suggestions to help us provide better services.
If you have a complaint, please let us know and we will do our best to resolve the issue. We want to learn from our mistakes and so we can prevent similar problems in the future.
This page is for general complaints about Council services. There are separate processes for:
- adult social care complaints
- children’s social care complaints
- complaints about schools
- disputing parking tickets
- appealing planning decisions
- disputing housing benefit decisions
- complaints about council staff
- recruitment and employment matters
- complaints about councillors
- complaints about legal matters
Please see our complaints procedure.
You can also write to us or telephone using the contact details below.
Information you need to provide
We’d like to know:
- what service are you complaining about
- what you think the Council did wrong
- what you think the Council should do to put things right
- the date the problem you’re complaining about occurred or you became aware of it
Help us to help you by providing any relevant dates, names of staff and copies of relevant letters or other documents to support your complaint.
Please note that we can’t usually look at a complaint if you have left it for an unreasonable amount of time. This can vary depending on the matter, but is likely to be in the region of 12 months since knowing about the problem.
Some complaints include issues about the conduct of council staff or staff working on behalf of the Council. In such cases, the usual complaints procedure will be followed, but there are also separate processes governing these issues which may include the involvement of human resources and a review by our code of conduct officers.
Given the nature of an investigation into staff behaviour and to ensure we comply with data protection rules, it may not be possible to keep you fully informed of any outcome or specific action taken against a member of staff. We will work to the agreed complaints process and address all other issues raised in the agreed timescales.
The officer investigating your complaint will provide you with as much information as allowed but this will be dependent on the nature of the complaint and will be considered on a case by case basis.
English language requirement (fluency duty)
We have a duty to ensure that anyone working for the Council in a public facing role must be able to converse at ease with customers and provide advice in accurate spoken English. If you are a member of the public and do not feel that this duty has been met, then you can complain using our complaints procedure. The general provisions of the complaints procedure will apply; however, please state that your complaint is being made under the fluency duty.
Please note that you cannot complain about someone under this duty because of the person’s accent, dialect, speech impediment, manner or tone of communication, origin or nationality.
Job applicants have no right of appeal against the outcome of any stage of the Council’s recruitment process or in relation to any other employment matter. Therefore, our complaints procedure can’t deal with such matters.
Concerns stemming from a recruitment exercise should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org. An officer will be asked to respond to the matters raised and their decision will be final.
How your complaint will be handled
- when you raise an issue we’ll check to see if we can handle it as a complaint. We will let you know if there is a different process for dealing with the matter
- we aim to respond to this stage within an average of 15 working days (10 working days for complaints against housing services), however in some cases, it may take longer
- a senior officer from the service you are complaining about or an appointee will oversee an investigation, which will focus on resolving the issue(s) you have raised
- we’ll contact you to inform you of the outcome of the investigation and the action taken to resolve your complaint
- if your complaint covers more than one issue there may be a need to handle them as separate complaints. If we do need to do this, you will be kept fully informed.
Option 1: get it sorted
- in some cases it may be possible to resolve your complaint without the need for a full investigation. Where possible, we will offer this option and aim to get the problem fixed more quickly
- we will try to find a way to solve the problem within 5 working days of the logging of the complaint, keeping you updated, usually by telephone
- we will seek to agree a solution with you and do our best to ensure the problem is put right
- if you still feel that we have not addressed the problems raised, you may then request that it be reconsidered more formally as a complaint under ‘investigate it’
Option 2: investigate it
- this option is for complaints that need a thorough investigation and a more detailed response. The investigation will usually take up to an average of 10 working days
- where a complaint is complex and likely to take longer than 10 working days, we will inform you of the need for an extension as soon as we can, usually within 5 working days of logging the complaint
- we will discuss the problem with you to understand what solution you are looking for. An appropriate officer from the service area will investigate the complaint fully
- the service will reply to your complaint in writing within 10 working days or the amended timeframe we previously discussed with you
Housing service annual self-assessment – the Housing Ombudsman’s Code of Practice
- view our annual self-assessment showing our performance against the Housing Ombudsman’s Code of Practice
What happens if you aren’t satisfied with the response
If you’re not satisfied with the response you received at stage 1, you can ask for your complaint to be escalated. At this stage the complaint is investigated by a team independent of the service you complained about who form part of the Chief Executive’s Office, or an appointee. We aim to respond at this stage within an average of 20 working days.
What happens if you aren’t satisfied with the response at the review stage
If you’re still not satisfied with our response to your complaint, you can ask the The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) or, if the complaint relates to tenant/landlord functions, the Housing Ombudsman Service (HOS), to investigate your complaint. You will usually need to have completed both stages of our complaints process before the Ombudsman can help.
For complaints relating to tenant / landlord functions, please note that you can’t approach the Housing Ombudsman until 8 weeks after the date of our final complaint response to you. However, prior to the 8 weeks, you can contact the Council’s Designated Person, Councillor Clayeon McKenzie, Cabinet Member for Housing, or Councillor Anntoinette Bramble, to request that they look into the matter for you. Details of how to do this will be included in our final complaint response to you.
Local Government Ombudsman
PO Box 4771
Coventry CV4 OEH
Tel: 0300 061 0614 (8.30am-5pm, Mon-Fri)
Fax: 024 7682 0001
Housing Ombudsman Service
London WC2B 4HN
Tel: 0300 111 3000