Procedure for complaining about council services

This procedure covers complaints about council services. It doesn’t include complaints about councillors, schools or social services.

We are committed to offering a high standard of service.

If something goes wrong or you are not satisfied with our service, please tell us. You have the right to complain if you feel we have failed in the service we have provided to you.

We take complaints about our services seriously and aim to address any areas where we have not delivered to the standards we expect of ourselves. We value your feedback and use the information to help us improve our services.

What you can complain about

You can complain about things like:

  • failure to provide a service, or inadequate standard of service
  • how we communicated with you
  • treatment by or attitude of a member of staff

Appeal vs. complaint

Some services also have an appeals process, such as parking and housing benefits. The complaints process cannot be used instead of the appeals process.

Complaint process vs. complaining to the service

Our complaints process should be used if there is a recurring problem with service delivery over time.
Individual complaints about a single service issue – such as an instance of missed grass maintenance – should be raised directly with the service team for resolution.

How to make a complaint

We want our services to be easy to use for all members of the community. The best way to complain is to use our online complaints form.

You can also complain by writing a letter or by phoning us. We’ll make sure reasonable adjustments are made to help customers access and use our services.

Please include all the details and issues concerning your complaint before sending it to us, so we can respond appropriately. Adding more information later can delay the response.

No time limit on making a complaint

We don’t have a time limit for accepting a complaint, but we do not keep records indefinitely.

We will be able to investigate your complaint more effectively if the complaint is made within one month of the event you want to complain about or finding out that you have a reason to complain.

When you’ve made a complaint

Your complaint will be investigated by the service it relates to. They will aim to reply within 10 working days.

If the complaint is about a member of staff, their manager will investigate and respond to you. If the complaint is a disciplinary matter, this will be dealt with by our human resources team under our disciplinary policy.

If you are unhappy with the outcome of your complaint, you can ask our chief executive to investigate. The service must have had the opportunity to respond to your complaint before advancing to this stage. Our chief executive will aim to reply within 17 working days.

Our chief executive will investigate by reading and understanding the complaint, discussing it with council officers, and using their professional judgement and experience.

Complaints about the chief executive

Complaints about our chief executive will be dealt with under our complaints procedure. A member of our corporate management team would respond to the complaint.

If the complaint is a disciplinary matter, this will be dealt with by our human resources team under the disciplinary policy, led by the Head of HR.

If you’re still dissatisfied

If you are not satisfied with the response from our chief executive you can send your complaint to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO).

In most cases, the LGSCO require that you have:

  • completed both stages of our complaints procedure
  • complained to them within 12 months of becoming aware of the matter
  • been directly affected by the matter – they call this ‘personal injustice’

You can also find details of issues that the LGSCO cannot deal on their website.

Accessibility

If you want this information in another language or format (such as large font or Braille) please contact our equality and diversity team.

equality and diversity enquiries

01934 634 832

louise.roberts@n-somerset.gov.uk