Complaints, Comments and Compliments

This procedure outlines the aims of the Council in dealing with complaints and compliments and sets out what you as the customer can expect when making a complaint regarding a Council service.

 

Alternatively please let us know if you have been impressed by a Council Service you have received by completing the Customer Comments Online eForm.

 

Introduction

 

At the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk we hope that the services you receive from us meet your needs.  However, we know that there may be times that you are unhappy about the service you receive, or you may have a suggestion as to how we may improve it.  If you feel your concerns were not fully addressed by the Service Area at first contact, we have a complaints procedure to help you.

 

The purpose of this document is to give guidance on:

  • How to sort out your problem;
  • The Council’s complaints procedure and how it operates;
  • the avenue open to you through the Local Government Ombudsman if you still feel unhappy about the Council’s response to your complaint;

Our overall objective is, with a minimum of delay, to resolve problems and put right complaints which are upheld. In any event you will receive a reply from us in response to your communication which will explain the Council’s position.

 

Raising your complaint for the first time

 

Where possible we try to sort out any problems directly with the service area responsible. We would therefore urge you to contact the Service Area Responsibilities  in question initially, to try and resolve your problem. If you are unsure who it is you need to speak to, please contact our Customer Information Centre on 01553 616200 or refer to the Service Area Responsibilities.

 

You may also seek assistance/guidance from your Borough Councillor(s) who have been democratically elected to represent your interests. All Councillors contact details can be found on our website www.west-norfolk.gov.uk, by telephoning 01553 616394 or by visiting one of our Council Offices.

 

If you are not satisfied with the initial response to your complaint by the Service Area and you wish to register a formal complaint, you should proceed to Stage One, the formal Corporate Complaint procedure.

 

Please ensure you have raised your complaint with the Service Area in question before making a formal Corporate Complaint.

 

Stage One – Making a corporate complaint

 

If you are unhappy with the response received from the service area, you can submit a corporate complaint via:

Your complaint will be acknowledged within 3 working days and we will endeavour to respond with a full reply within 15 working days by the appropriate Executive Director or his/her authorised representative. If the complaint is particularly complex, an interim / holding response will be sent.

 

Complaints upheld

 

Where a complaint is upheld:

 

(i) The Executive Director or his/her representative will give you a written apology and explanation.

(ii) Where possible the error will be corrected or a satisfactory service will be provided as a matter of urgency.

(iii) Where (ii) is not possible or where you can prove that inconvenience or unsatisfactory service has caused you personal hardship or financial loss the Council will compensate you based on the merits of your case.

 

Complaints not upheld

 

Where your complaint is not upheld you will receive a letter of explanation from the appropriate Executive Director or his/her representative setting out our reasons for rejecting your complaint.

 

Stage Two – Appeal to the Chief Executive or Deputy Chief Executive

 

We do our best to resolve complaints at Stage One but occasionally this is not possible. Should you consider that material aspects of your complaint have not been fully considered and for addressed, you can appeal against Stage 1 decision and the Chief Executive or Deputy Chief Executive will then undertake a review of the investigation of your complaint.

 

The Chief Executive or Deputy Chief Executive will respond direct to you working to the timelines stated in Stage One.

 

Local Government Ombudsman

 

In the unlikely event you are not satisfied with the response received from the Chief Executive, you may refer your complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman. The Local Government Ombudsman is an independent investigator, appointed by Government, whose role is to investigate serious complaints against Councils. Contact details are set out below;

 

Local Government Ombudsman Advice Team

PO Box 4771

Coventry

CV4 0EH

 

Telephone: Mon-Fri 8.30am to 5.00pm

Tel: 0300 061 0614

Fax: 024 7682 0001

Email: advice@lgo.org.uk

Website: www.lgo.org.uk

 

Please be advised that the Ombudsman will want to see any correspondence concerned with the case so remember to keep copies. A booklet explaining the role of the Local Government Ombudsman and how to make a complaint, is available from Democratic Services (address details on the back of this form) on our website www.west-norfolk.gov.uk, or directly from the Ombudsman’s Office.

 

Anonymous complaints

 

We understand that it might be difficult for you to complain because you are worried that your complaint could result in a poorer service to your household. Please be assured that we treat all complaints against the Council in the strictest confidence, and that it is your right to complain.

 

If you do not provide us with a contact name or address, it will not be possible for us to get back to you with the outcome of the investigation.

 

Complaints about racism 

 

Please note, if you believe that the actions or comments that have led you to making a complaint are racist in nature please complete the Racial Discrimination Complaint Form (pdf 306Kb) or contact the Deputy Chief Executive.

 

Policy on unreasonably persistent complainants

 

Please note that the council has a policy on unreasonably persistent complainants

 

Complaints about Councillors

 

If you think a Councillor has broken their authority's Code of Conduct you can report them to the Borough Council’s Standards Committee

 

Further details are available on our Complaints about Councillors page.

 

If you require any further information on the complaints process

 

You can write to:

 

Democratic Services

Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk

King's Court

Chapel Street

King's Lynn

Norfolk

 

Telephone: 01553 616394

Fax: 01553 691663

E-mail: complaints@west-norfolk.gov.uk.

 

Last updated: 12 June 2013
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