Complaints procedure

Putting you at the heart of everything we do

We try to provide you with efficient and high quality services at all times but recognise, that despite our best efforts, we might not always get it right. We want to know if you are unhappy or dissatisfied with our service so that, wherever possible, we can make things better.

This procedure sets out how we will respond to your concerns and complaints regarding our services.

Our promise to you

We will
  • always treat you with dignity and respect
  • investigate your complaint promptly and fairly, and
  • provide you with a full explanation of our investigation into your complaint.
There may be occasions when we cannot do what you want, but we will try to be as helpful as possible and give you as much information as we can.

What we mean by complaint

We treat a complaint as: an expression of dissatisfaction about our action or lack of action; or dissatisfaction about the standard of service we have provided (or services provided on our behalf). For example:

  • Problems accessing services
  • Failure to provide a response within agreed timescales
  • Behaviour or our staff
  • Standard or quality of the service provided
  • Failure to keep your personal data safe
The Complaints Procedure is not an appeal system to challenge Council decisions or request certain services.  It is our way of sorting our your dissatisfaction with the service we have, or should have, provided.

The following types of complaint are excluded from this procedure as alternative remedies exist.  We can help explain how you would go about challenging these issues.

  • Planning decisions and enforcement notices
  • Car parking fixed penalty notices
  • Benefit entitlement
  • Banding Appeals under the Home Options Scheme
  • Complaints that have a legal remedy
  • Complaints about the conduct of Councillors
  • Complaints that require investigation, for example, noise complaints or a missed bin collection.  We want the opportunity to investigate before you make a complaint.
  • Please click here to report a missed bin

  • Repeated complaints about a subject matter that has previously been investigated within the last 12 months, and where there has been no material change in circumstances or evidence.

Response Target

At all stages we aim to acknowledge receipt within one working day of its receipt and respond to you in full within 10 working days.  We will advise you by the fifth working day if we need more time.

How the Complaints Procedure works

Stage 1 – Informal Complaint

Your complaint will be sent to the relevant service manager for assessment, investigation and response.

 

Stage 2 – Formal Complaint

This process is used if you are either not satisfied with the results of your informal complaint or if, by its very nature, your complaint is accelerated by us to this point from the start.  We will also accelerate complaints to stage 2 if we have let you down by not responding within our targets at stage 1.

If your complaint has already padded through stage one, and you remain dissatisfied, we will ask you to make it clear that you want your complaint to be referred to the relevant service director for assessment, investigation and response.  It is helpful, at this stage, if you can identify with which aspects of our response you are dissatisfied.

Stage 3 – Final Stage

If you are not satisfied with our response at Stage 2 you can ask us to look at your complaint again at the final stage in our process.  If requesting a final stage review you will need to explain your reasons so that the Chief Executive can home in on your particular concerns.  The Chief Executive will review your concerns and will give you a final decision as far as the District Council is concerned.

If you are still not happy

Our Complaints Procedure ends at Stage 3.  However, if you are not happy you can take things further by contacting the Local Government Ombudsman.  The Ombudsman is totally independent of the District Council and has a legal duty to investigate complaints about local councils.

For more information and details of how to contact the Ombudsman

Visit:                 www.lgo.org.uk
Email:               advice@lgo.org.uk
Telephone:       0845 6021983

Write to:           Local Government Ombudsman, PO Box 4771, Coventry CV4 0EH

How to contact us with your complaint

This process is used if you are either not satisfied with the results of your informal complaint or if, by its very nature, your complaint is accelerated by us to this point from the start.  We will also accelerate complaints to stage 2 if we have let you down by not responding within our targets at stage 1.

  • Fill in the Online complaint form
  • Telephone the relevant Council Department on 01629 761100 or the Complaints Assistant on 01629 7611325
  • Write to the relevant Council department at Derbyshire Dales District Council, Town Hall, Matlock DE4 3NN
  • Visit the Council offices in Matlock
  • Contact your local District Councillor. For more details please contact the Customer Contact Team on 01629 761100

 

Unreasonably Persistent Complainants

 There are occasions when the behaviour of a small minority of complainants becomes unreasonable, in that they pursue their complaints in a way that cam impede the investigation or can have a significant resource issue for the Council.  The Council has adopted an Unreasonable and Persistent Complaints Policy to guide both employees and councillors when addressing such complaints. The Complaints Officer will provide a copy of the policy on request.