What is a complaint?
We know that not everything we do makes people happy but not all feedback can be viewed as a complaint. Here are a few examples of what might, or might not be a complaint:
|What is a complaint?||What is not a complaint?|
|You are unhappy with the way a policy is carried out.||You are unhappy with the council’s policy itself or their application of a rule of law.|
|Failure to implement a decision or carry out a duty that we should.||You are waiting for the outcome of an appeal to a Council Committee, or an independent appeal hearing, such as a Benefits Appeal, Planning Appeal or a court case.|
|You are not happy with how a member of staff treated you.||A member of staff was following the procedure set out in a council policy.|
|Failure to provide a service or the provision of a poor service.||You are not happy about the administration of a statutory duty.|
|You have been discriminated against.|
|Failure to consider all the relevant facts when making a decision.||You have not provided all the information requested, which affected our decision.|
Do you know how to complain?
Consumer champion “Which” has identified that when things go wrong all we want is:
an explanation of what went wrong,
for the mistake not to be repeated.
We often get compliments but we also want you to feel able to tell us when things go wrong. It won’t affect the way we deal with you in the future and we hope that it will make a difference to other customers.
If you wish to make a complaint there are three potential stages. These stages must be completed before the Local Government Ombudsman will investigate a complaint. If you are dissatisfied with a council service, even where that service is provided on our behalf by a partner or contractor we welcome your feedback.
Once you have told us about your complaint we will try to put it right as soon as we are able to. If you are not happy with what we have done or we have not put the matter right then you may take your complaint to stage two.
A complaint will be investigated by a senior officer. It would be helpful to have the details of your complaint in writing at this stage. Tell us why you are not happy with our initial response and what you think we can do to put the matter right.
If you remain dissatisfied then you may take your complaint to stage three.
Stage three is the final stage of the council's complaints procedure. Please write to us telling us why you are not happy with what we have done, or what we have told you and what you think we can do to put the matter right.
If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome, you will be given details of how to contact the Local Government Ombudsman.
We aim to acknowledge complaints within three days and provide a full response within 10 working days. If more detailed investigations are required, this may be extended to 28 calendar days. Full details about the procedure is in our CCC Policy which was reviewed in 2016.
Local Government Ombudsman
If you are not satisfied with the way the Council has handled your complaint, you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is an independent government-appointed representative who will act as an impartial investigator.
Tel: 0300 061 0614 Website: www.lgo.org.uk
The Local Government Ombudsman's Annual Letter
The performance of councils across England on complaints investigated by the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) is set out in an individual 'annual letter'. The letters provide a summary of information on the complaints that the LGO has received about each council. Where possible they include comments on an authority's performance and complaint-handling arrangements to help with service improvement.
You can view the most recent Annual Letters for this authority via the link below:
Vexatious and Persistent Complainants
Erewash Borough Council is committed to dealing with all complaints fairly and impartially and welcomes complaints as a way to improve the service that we provide. Most complainants interact in a polite and reasonable manner, however during the course of its normal business the Council receives a small number of unreasonably persistent or vexatious complaints as a proportion of its ongoing business.
While small in number, these complaints can take up a disproportionate amount of officer time, which can impact upon the delivery of services for other residents and visitors or result in unnecessary costs for council taxpayers.
The guidance for dealing with Unreasonably Persistent Complainants and Unreasonable Complainant Behaviour Policy identifies:
Situations where a complainant, either individually or as part of a group, may be considered to be vexatious or persistent
What action can be taken to stop or curtail this behaviour
Considerations before action is taken
Who can decide to implement such action
How to implement the action
What can the complainant do to challenge the decision of the Council.