Complaints Procedure

Do you have a complaint?

By complaint we mean any situation in which you are unhappy with the service or lack of service you have received from the Authority.

This applies whether the action was taken or the service was provided by the Authority itself or a person or body acting on behalf of the Authority. You can make your complaint by using this form.

Please do not use this form for routine requests for services (for example reporting everyday problems) or initial requests for action (such as reporting a broken gate on a right of way) - matters like these should be directed to the service concerned by contacting us as detailed here.

We do receive a number of complaints that are related to services provided by the District and County Councils e.g. waste management and highways. To avoid a delay in your complaint being resolved please check your complaint is regarding a service that we provide - these can be found on our leaflet Services we provide.

The identity of a person making a complaint will be made known only to those who need to consider the complaint and will not be revealed to any other person or made public by the Authority. However, it may not be possible to preserve confidentiality in some circumstances, for example where relevant legislation applies or allegations are made which involve the conduct of third parties.

Complaints procedure

Informal stage

We would encourage you to first discuss the issue with the individual or service directly; they will always try to resolve the problem at this stage. If an immediate response cannot be made, the officer responsible will send a written reply within 10 working days.

Formal stages

If you are dissatisfied with the initial response, or you want to make a formal complaint then please do so using this form

If you’re not able to write your complaint, phone the main switchboard on 01398 332365 who will assist you.

You can help us consider your complaint by providing us with as much information as possible about what you feel has gone wrong (what injustice you have suffered) and what you feel the Authority should do to put it right.

Stage 1 - Your complaint will be passed to the senior manager responsible for the service or area you are complaining about. They will directly investigate the complaint and reply to you within 15 working days.

Stage 2 - If you are dissatisfied with the response at Stage 1, you may write to the Complaints Officer explaining why you are still concerned. The Complaints Officer will review the complaint and provide a final response. The Chief Executive will review complaints against any member of Leadership Team or if there is any conflict of interest for the Complaints Officer.  The response at Stage 2 will be within 20 working days and is the end of our complaints procedure.

Some complaints may be complex and take longer than the stated timescales to deal with properly. In such cases we will notify you within 10 days and give you a date when a reply may be expected.

The Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman

If you have been through our complaints procedure and are still unhappy, you can ask the Home - Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman to review your complaint.  It is a free service.

Get an online form at:

How to Complain - Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

The Ombudsman will not question what the Authority has done simply because you do not agree with its decision. The complaint must be about maladministration, i.e. that something went wrong procedurally. You may also claim to have suffered injustice as a consequence. The Ombudsman will expect claimants to have first raised their complaint with the Authority and given the Authority a chance to respond.

Procedure for responding to unreasonably persistent complaints

The Authority values the feedback on our services that we receive through the complaints process and we are committed to dealing with all complaints fairly and impartially and to providing a high-quality service. However, there are a small number of complainants who, because of the nature and frequency of their contact with the Authority's officers and our limited resources, hinder us in providing a service and responding to enquiries from others. We refer to such complainants as 'unreasonably persistent complainants' and, exceptionally, we will take action to limit their contact with our staff.

Policy on the management of unreasonable complainant behaviour

Learning from complaints

The Authority wants to resolve problems as soon as possible and, ideally, prevent them from happening again. Your reporting of problems gives the Authority a chance to put matters right. If your complaint is upheld you will receive a written apology and an undertaking to prevent recurrence of the problem and efforts will be made to remedy the problem.