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How to make a formal complaint

Before you start

A formal complaint is a way to let us know that you are not happy with some aspect of our services.

To help us handle your complaint quickly and effectively please read the information on this page before submitting a complaint.

Several of our services have separate complaints or appeals processes that are not included in our main formal complaints form.

If you are reporting something to us for the first time, for example:

  • a missed bin collection
  • a pothole
  • graffiti
  • flytipping.

Please report your issue directly to the service as this will likely be the quickest way to resolve the matter.

Make a formal complaint

If you have already reported an issue and it has not been resolved you can make a formal complaint for most of our services using our main complaints and feedback form.

Our complaints process

Formal complaints made this way can take up to 20 days to investigate and your issue or concern may be solved faster by contacting the relevant service first.

How we handle your complaints

We will:

  • let you know we have received your complaint within 3 working days
  • let you know who will be handling your complaint and make sure we understand what your complaint is about
  • find out what you want to happen to put things right
  • investigate and respond to you within 20 working days
  • let you know if we need more time to investigate your complaint and when we hope to provide a final response
  • apologise if we find we have failed to provide the level of service you should expect and look to put things right
  • welcome your view of what needs to be done to resolve any problem
  • arrange for a review of your complaint if you remain unhappy and aim to respond to you within 15 working days.

We do not investigate complaints about issues that happened more than 12 months before you contact us for the first time.

More information is available within our complaints handling guide.

If things are still not right

You can refer your complaint to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman who will carry out an independent review.

Please note the LGSCO will not normally accept a complaint which has not been considered under the Council’s complaint process first.

To make a complaint to the Ombudsman:

  • Go to www.lgo.org.uk
  • Call 0300 061 0614
  • Text phone users using Next Generation Text can text call back to 0762 481 1595.

If you are a council tenant complaining about your housing you need to go to the housing ombudsman.

Unreasonable and unreasonably persistent complainants

Dealing with a complaint is usually a straightforward process, but in a minority of cases people pursue their complaints in a way which can either impede the investigation of their complaint or the complaints of others and can have significant resource issues for the council.

This can happen either while their complaint is being investigated or once the council has finished dealing with the complaint.

We have adopted the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s (LGSCO) definition of ‘unreasonable complainant behaviour’. More information is available within our unreasonable and unreasonably persistent complainants guide.