Complaints and Compliments Policy
Why have we got a Complaints and Compliments Policy?
Richmondshire District Council aims to provide the best possible services to meet the needs of all local people. When this does not happen, the complaints and compliments policy aims to make sure we “put things right” when needed in a timely way and continually improve our services.
What are Complaints and Compliments?
Complaints and compliments are all useful forms of customer feedback and feed into service delivery improvement and staff motivation.
Our aim is to provide a consistent, corporate process for handling all types of feedback, both positive and negative, that will feed change and improve and enhance our service delivery. Please click here to download our leaflet
What is excluded from the Policy?
There are certain types of complaints are not dealt with under the complaints and compliments policy, these include:-
- Requests for a service or provision of information.
- Complaints which are essentially criticism of or disagreement with approved Council Policy or decisions properly taken.
- Any matter where a right of objection or appeal exists, (such as a grant or refusal of planning permission), unless the complaint relates specifically to the way the matter has been administered.
- Complaints which could reasonably be the subject of court or tribunal proceedings or which need to be referred to the Council's insurers. (For example, action for compensation or personal injury).
- Any matter which falls within the remit of the Council's disciplinary procedure.
- Complaints about the conduct of a Councillor.
- An appeal made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, or Data Protection 1998.
- An appeal made under the Environmental Information Regulations.
How can we receive your Complaints and Compliments?
We want to make the process accessible to everyone. You can contact us in any way for example:
- face to face at any Community Office
- by phone, direct to the Service Manager or the Contact Centre Team;
- by letter;
- via a Councillor. Follow this link for Councillor contact information Your Councillor or consult the 2008-11 Brief Guide to the Council and your Local Councillors; and
- by using our Complaints_and_Compliments_Form.pdf which is also available at all Community Office locations.
The Local Government Ombudsman
An issue can be referred to the Ombudsman at any time, although it is normal practice for the Ombudsman not to begin an investigation unless the Council has had an opportunity to use its own procedures to resolve the matter.
Complainants who wish to make an electronic complaint to the Ombudsman need to visit the LGO website and use the online form: www.lgo.org.uk/making-a-complaint, alternatively they can still be contacted by telephone on 0300 0610614.
The Local Government Ombudsman
PO Box 4771
Coventry CV4 0EH
Tel: 0300 0610614
Fax: 024 7682 0001
It is helpful for feedback to be made at the time, or as soon as possible after the issue arises. We understand that this is not always possible. However, all feedback must be made within three months of the event, or within three months of becoming aware of the need to give feedback.
Three Stages of the Complaints Policy
At each stage, your complaint will be acknowledged within 3 working days of receipt.
Reply by relevant Service Manager.
This stage of the process is to make an assessment of the complaint raisedand to resolve if necessary. We aim to do this within 15 working days of acknowledgement of the complaint.
Investigation by an Independant Service Manager.
This stage provides for where the customer remains dissatisfied with the response under stage 1. We aim to do this within 15 working days.
Investigation by a Corporare Director.
This final stage gives the right of referral to a Coprorate Director. The Director will explain the nature of their investigation and any anticipated timescales.
What can we do to put things right?
- Apologise for an issue which has been substantiated.
- Provide an explanation and ensure that all points raised are answered fully and clearly.
- Take all necessary action to put things right where applicable.
- Consider payment of compensation where our customer has suffered injustice as a result of what we have done or not done.
- Ensure that the same problem will not reoccur by improving the service and monitoring the outcomes of change.
Time limits for the Council's response:
For a straightforward issue, an assurance of remedial action, or a response that no action is required, will be made within 15 working days. Complaints that cannot be resolved immediately will be acknowledged within 3 working days and we will state how long it will take to deal with your issue.
The Council will not usually deal with anonymous feedback. However, request can be made for an issue to be dealt with in confidence where this is appropriate.
How to contact us
Telephone: 01748 829100
Richmondshire District Council
Customer Services Manager
Call in: To see us at one of our Community Offices at Colburn, Hawes, Leyburn, Reeth or at Mercury House, Richmond.
DATA PROTECTION ACT 1998
Any information supplied in relation to compliments and complaints will be held in an electronic format and will be passed to the relevant Services. Data may also be passed to your Ward Councillor as the elected representative for your area.
Link to Complaints and Compliments Form