Guide to the Council's Complaints Procedure
Tendring District Council seeks to provide quality, cost-effective services to the people of Tendring and welcomes feedback and suggestions from service-users. We are constantly working to improve the services we provide and, if you believe you have not received the level of service you would expect, we ask you to tell us about it. Your complaints provide us with information not only about where things may be going wrong, but also about what you think of us. They serve as an excellent way for us to monitor and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of all our services.
The purpose of this page is to tell you:
- How to complain to the Council;
- How we will deal with your complaint; and
- What to do if you remain dissatisfied.
The following information is also available in the 'Complaints procedure and form' document which can be found on the right hand side of this page.
1. How to Complain
How do I make a complaint?
If you feel the Council has done something wrong or badly, or failed to do something, the first thing you should do is contact the officer you have been dealing with. You should ask them to put things right for you or explain why the Council has acted in this way. If you remain dissatisfied, you may wish to make a formal complaint by following the advice on this page.
To help us deal effectively with your complaint you will need to tell us:
- What the problem is and how it has occurred
- How it has affected you
- What you consider we should now do to put the matter right
What can I complain about?
A complaint must be about something specific. It is most likely to be about one or more of the following:
- the standard of service provided by the Council
- failure by the Council to provide an agreed service
- failure by the Council to respond to a request for a service
- that the Council has exceeded its powers
- that the attitude or conduct of an officer has been unacceptable
- the Council has not followed an agreed procedure
- maladministration by the Council (ie delay, muddle, bias or confusion)
What can I not complain about?
This procedure does not cover:
- requests for a service
- requests for information or an explanation of Council policy or practice
- matters for which there is an existing right of appeal (either within the Council itself or to an independent tribunal) or legal remedy
- complaints about Councillors
- complaints made more than 6 months after the events complained about unless there are exceptional circumstances as to why the complaint could not have brought within this time.
If, after reading the guidance above, you are not sure if your "complaint" is covered by this procedure, please complete the Complaints Form and send it to the Council's Monitoring Officer. They will look into the matter and notify you accordingly.
If your complaint is about a Councillor you can find more details on the Complaints about Councillors page.
2. How will you deal with my complaint?
Complaints differ widely in nature and complexity and in dealing with any complaints made in accordance with the Complaints Procedure we will seek to apply three basic principles:
- To investigate a complaint as quickly and impartially as possible. This will initially be done by the department concerned.
- To provide you with a full response that outlines the findings of the investigation and, wherever possible, resolves the matter to your satisfaction
- To keep the steps of the Complaints Procedure, as set out below, separate from each other
What are the steps of the Complaints Procedure?
You should first contact the officer you have been dealing with and explain the issue to them. The officer you talk to may be able to help you there and then, or at least indicate if the matter can be resolved.
Stage 1 - Formal Written Complaint If you are not satisfied with the response you have received, you should complete ALL the questions on the Complaints Form and send this to the relevant Department. Your complaint will be acknowledged within 3 working days of receipt and you will be provided with a substantive response within 15 working days of receipt. The matter will be looked into by a manager within the department other than whoever you have already been dealing with. If longer is needed to complete the investigation, you will be informed of this in writing and provided you with reasons. Where appropriate, the Council may ask a manager in another Department to investigate a particular complaint.
Stage 2 - Review by the Chief Executive or someone appointed to act on his behalf If you are not satisfied with the outcome of Stage 2, you can write to the Chief Executive and ask him to review your complaint. Ian Davidson Chief Executive Town Hall Station Road Clacton-on-Sea Essex CO15 1SE E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org You should do this within 28 days of the date of the response provided under Stage 2. The Chief Executive will acknowledge your complaint within 3 working days of receipt and will provide you with a substantive response within 20 working days of receipt. The Chief Executive may ask another officer to undertake the review on his behalf and, if your complaint relates to the Chief Executive, the Monitoring Officer or another Corporate Director will review the complaint.
3. What if I am still not satisfied?
At any time, you have the right to refer your complaint to either the Local Government Ombudsman or Housing Ombudsman, as applicable. The Local Government Ombudsman is an independent person who looks into complaints of maladministration (bad practice) against local authorities. This is an independent person who looks into complaints of maladministration (bad practice) against local authorities. The Ombudsman will usually want to know if your complaint can be resolved locally, so you should follow the steps in the Complaints Procedure first. The Ombudsman can be contacted on:
Tel: 0300 061 0614
Fax: 024 7682 0001
Text: 'call back' to 0762 480 4299
Write to: Local Government Ombudsman, PO Box 4771, Coventry CV4 0EH
Complaints from council tenants about the Council in its capacity as a social landlord (such as the landlord of a council house or flat) are subject to a different statutory regime after stage 3 has been completed. In those cases, if you are still not satisfied, you can complain to a “designated person” (within the meaning of the Localism Act 2011). The designated person can be a Member of Parliament, a TDC Councillor or panel of tenants. It is their role to help resolve the complaint, refer it to the Housing Ombudsman or they can decline to do either of these things.
A complainant can only approach the Housing Ombudsman direct if more than 8 weeks have passed since stage 3 of TDC’s internal complaints procedure was completed. For further details, please contact TDC’s Customer and Support Manager on 01255 686490.
The Housing Ombudsman can be contacted on:
The Local Government Ombudsman has no jurisdiction to deal with social tenant housing complaints.
A booklet explaining how to refer matters to the Ombudsman is available from Council offices.
Please fill in the Complaints Form within the Complaints Procedure booklet on the top right hand side and return to the relevant Head of Department below. We have also provided a word version of the complaints form, should you wish to fill it in electronically.
(For details of the services provided by each department, please see attached links)
- Corporate Services, Town Hall, Station Road, Clacton on on Sea, Essex, CO15 1SE
- Operational Services, Town Hall, Station Road, Clacton on Sea, Essex, CO15 1SE
- Planning, Council Offices, Thorpe Road Weeley, Essex CO16 9AJ
Ombudsman's Annual Review
The Local Government Ombudsman investigates complaints about the administration of the Council. The report he produced to the council about the number of complaints he received about the council is available in the useful documents area on this page.