A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction about a council service that requires a response. We make no distinction between a ‘formal’ and an ‘informal’ complaint.
This policy covers general complaints to the council about its own services. It
does not cover complaints that are covered by other rules, such as:
- Planning appeals.
- Benefits entitlement appeals.
- Council tax or business rates liability appeals.
- Complaints about councillor conduct.
- Reviews of decisions under the Freedom of Information Act and related legislation.
- Concerns about potential fraud or corruption.
In the event of a complaint against the Chief Executive the organisation will decide if the complaint is investigated by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGO). The decision will be made by an Executive Director and/or the Monitoring Officer independent of the complaint.
Why is this important?
We aim to provide good quality services. Unfortunately, things go wrong sometimes. It is important for us to know when things do not go well, so that we can try to resolve any problems and learn from them.
For this reason, we have a complaints process. We log complaints with our Customer Services Team and report regularly to councillors and managers on how we are doing.
How we try to resolve your complaint
Before making a complaint, call the council service direct as it may be possible to resolve the problem immediately without having to go through the complaints process. If this is not possible or you are unhappy with the response then the stages below outline our complaints process.
Stage 1 – Team Leader or Manager
The Team Leader or Manager for the relevant service will receive your complaint.
He or she will oversee the investigation and respond directly to you. He or she may need to contact you to clarify the details of your complaint. It is very important that we understand exactly what the complaint is before we investigate.
We aim to acknowledge your complaint in writing or email within 3 working days and provide an answer within 10 working days. Sometimes, a complicated complaint may take longer. We will keep you informed if this happens.
Stage 2 – Executive Head of Service
If you are unhappy with our response from the Team Leader or Manager, the Executive Head of Service will review the handling of your complaint to confirm that the correct procedures and processes have been adhered to.
The Executive Head of Service will try to provide a full response within 15 working days. If their response is likely to take longer, they will contact you and agree a resolution date.
Stage 3 – Ombudsman
If you are not satisfied with the Head of Service’s reply, you may contact the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman. This is the independent organisation that looks into complaints against councils.
How to complain
We are happy to receive your complaint in a variety of ways.
- Website: Fill in the complaints form on the council website via report it.
- Email: Email your complaint to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Telephone: If you know it, call the telephone number of the appropriate service, or call our general number 023 9244 6019, and ask to speak with the Operator who will then transfer you to the senior manager of that service. If the manager is unavailable Customer Services will log your complaint in order that the manager can investigate fully and respond to you.
- Letter: Address your letter to the “Team Leader or Manager”, naming the relevant service, or to “Complaints” at Havant Borough Council, Public Service Plaza, Havant, PO9 2AX
- In person: Phone first to make an appointment if you wish to discuss your complaint with the appropriate Team Leader or Manager.
- Your local councillor: They will forward your complaint to the relevant Team Leader or Manager.
Resolving the complaint
We aim to resolve 85% of all complaints within 10 working days. Sometimes, a complicated complaint may take longer, and we will discuss a revised target date with you.
We regularly monitor this target to make sure complaints are resolved as quickly as possible.
We will work closely with you to get at the heart of the problem and do whatever we can to put things right. We will apologise if we have let you down and learn from our mistakes.
We will review this policy at least once every two years. We will also occasionally seek feedback from complainants about the process to make sure that you are being treated fairly and complaints are dealt with professionally.