How to Complain

Summary of the Council's Complaints Procedure

We welcome feedback and suggestions from our service users. If you believe you have not received the level of service you would expect, we ask you to tell us about it.

The purpose of this page is to tell you:

  • How to complain to the Council.
  • How we will deal with your complaint.
  • What to do if you are still dissatisfied.
  • The full 'Complaints procedure and form' is in the useful documents area at the bottom of this page.

1. How to Complain

If you feel the Council has done something wrong or badly, or failed to do something, please 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 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 (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 why the complaint could not have brought within this time.

If you are still 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 reply to you.

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?

When we look into complaints, we do the following:

  • Investigate a complaint as quickly and impartially as possible. The department concerned does this initially.
  • Provide you with a full response which includes our findings and resolves the matter to your satisfaction if we can.
  • 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 say if they can resolve the matter.

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. We will acknowledge your complaint within 3 working days. We will send you a full reply within 15 working days. A manager within the department will look into your complaint. If they need longer to complete the investigation, they will write to you to let you know why. Sometimes, a manager in another department may 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 1, 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: leadershipsupport@tendringdc.gov.uk.

You should do this within 28 days of the date of the reply provided under Stage 1. The Chief Executive will acknowledge your complaint within 3 working days of receipt. He will provide you with a full reply within 20 working days of receipt. He may ask another officer to undertake the review on his behalf. If your complaint relates to the Chief Executive, the Monitoring Officer or another Corporate Director will review your complaint.

3. What if I am still not satisfied?

You have the right to refer your complaint to either the Local Government Ombudsman or Housing Ombudsman at any time. The Local Government Ombudsman 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 between us, so you should follow the steps in the Complaints Procedure first. You can contact The Ombudsman on:

Tel: 0300 061 0614
Website: https://www.lgo.org.uk/
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 as a landlord (such as the landlord of a council house or flat) are dealt with differently after stage 2 has finished. In those cases, if you are still not satisfied, you can complain to a designated person such as 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.

You can only contact the Housing Ombudsman direct if more than 8 weeks have passed since our 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:

Tel: 0300 111 3000
Website: https://www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk/
Email: info@housing-ombudsman.org.uk
Writing to: Housing Ombudsman Service, Exchange Tower, Harbour Exchange Square, London, E14 9GE

The Local Government Ombudsman cannot 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 (see Useful Documents below). Send the completed form to the relevant Head of Department. We have provided a word version of the complaints form, if you want 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-Sea, Essex, CO15 1SE

Operational Services, Town Hall, Station Road, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, CO15 1SE

Planning Services, Town Hall, Station Road, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, CO15 1SE

Useful Documents

Complaints Procedure and Form

Complaints form - word version

Housing Ombudsman Complaints Handling Code Self Assessment

How we deal with persistent, vexatious or unreasonable complaints

Last updated on: 02/03/2022 - 15:59