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Feedback and complaints

Coronavirus (COVID-19): change to service

We are experiencing some interruption to services due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

This may mean that we may not be able to respond to your complaint within the usual timeframes set out below. 

See further information about changes to services.


We are always striving to improve our services. If you have a comment, compliment or complaint let us know.

Any comment, good or bad, helps us to understand what people do and don’t like about our services and how we can make them better in the future.

Comments and suggestions

If you have comments or suggestions about how our services could be improved, we would like to hear them and will always acknowledge and pass them to the relevant service.

Compliments

Our staff welcome compliments and we appreciate being told when we're doing things right. We'll acknowledge any compliments and make sure they are passed to the relevant people.

Complaints

A complaint is a way to let us know if you are not happy with some aspect of our service. 

First, please contact the service you want to complain about. They may be able to resolve your concern quickly and avoid you having to go through the formal complaints process. It's helpful if you explain why you are unhappy and what you think should be done to resolve the problem. We'll investigate and try to put things right where we can.

How we deal with complaints

We:

  • 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.

Generally we do not investigate complaints about something you knew about more than 12 months before contacting 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.

Separate procedures

There are also a number of separate legal or appeal procedures for a number of services which include:

  • Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit entitlement disputes
  • Housing or Homeless application appeals
  • School admission appeals
  • Appeals about us refusing your planning application
  • Parking ticket appeals
  • Anti-social behaviour complaints
  • Complaints about councillors
  • Insurance claims against the council
  • Dorset Waste partnership.

Please see the complaints information for your area to find out more: