Comments, compliments and complaints policy


What’s included?

The procedure will generally include:

  • failure to provide a service at the level or standard expected by the council
  • the unhelpful attitude of a council employee
  • neglect, or delay in answering a query or responding to a request for a service
  • failure to follow the council's agreed policies, rules or procedures, including the council's recruitment procedure
  • failure to consider all relevant information in coming to a decision
  • malice, bias or unfair discrimination, in particular discrimination or harassment on the grounds of age, disability, gender, race or sexual orientation
  • a suspected breach of data protection



What’s not included?

The procedure will generally exclude:

  • complaints that amount to a disagreement with the council about its decisions or policies rather than the way decisions have been made. There may be exceptions where an individual or group of individuals have been unfairly disadvantaged by a decision made, or policy agreed by the council and discretion may be used in situations such as these. For example:
    • level of council tax
    • waste management strategy
  • a planning or development control matter where a right of objection exists, unless the complaint is about the way the matter has been administered
  • a council decision using regulatory powers; for example, licences or certain environmental health functions, or when the decision is governed by other regulations such as benefit assessments or council tax recovery unless the complaint is about how the matter has been administered
  • a complaint that is, or could reasonably be expected to be, the subject of court or tribunal proceedings
  • complaints that amount to a disagreement with, or refusal to accept, a rule of law which the council is applying
  • complaints about action taken in relation to dismissals, or decisions not to employ an applicant
  • requests for information or an explanation of a council policy
  • complaints concerning matters of a political nature which are best addressed to the local councillor



What will this procedure do?

  • ensure that customer feedback (comments, compliments and formal complaints - 3Cs) is recorded, investigated and reported on where appropriate, in a consistent and timely manner
  • deliver customer satisfaction, improve performance through feedback, advise on corrective and preventative action, and highlight examples of good practice
  • complement existing corporate customer systems for logging and progressing customer service requests
  • ensure that wherever possible, services can take immediate action to resolve a customer’s problem so that they do not have to raise a formal complaint to get the matter resolved
  • ensure that on the rare occasion that complainants (and/or anyone acting on their behalf) identified as exhibiting unacceptable behaviours or actions based on previous or current contact, are managed appropriately through the customer case management policy.


What is this procedure not for?

This procedure is not for:

  • addressing complaints about one or more councillors; these are the responsibility of the council’s Standards Committee
  • addressing a complaint where a statutory right of appeal already exists such as planning decisions

The council is only able to progress formal complaints that are valid and that follow the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s standard for determining valid complaints. A statement of a point of view or personal opinion may not be regarded as a valid complaint.