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Customer feedback and complaints policy

Complaints not covered by this Policy

The Council has a number of different procedures and processes across its service areas for service users to express their dissatisfaction. The information below is provided to guide you to select the most appropriate route for your complaint. You may be advised that your complaint is not appropriate for consideration as a corporate complaint and you will directed to the most appropriate route.

Service requests

Service requests will not be dealt with under this procedure. If received, service requests will be directed to the relevant service area for consideration. An example of a service request is reporting a pothole to be fixed or fly tipping to be cleared.

 

Existing appeals processes

The Council will not deal with complaints under this procedure regarding services where there are existing appeals processes. You will be advised of the relevant appeals process and given details of how to make an appeal. An example of this may be the school admissions panel who deal with matters of dissatisfaction regarding decisions on school placements.

 

Adult's Social Care and Children's Social Care complaints

There is a statutory procedure for dealing with complaints relating to Adults and Children's Social Care. Complaints that meet the criteria will be considered using these statutory procedures. Those that fall outside the scope of the statutory procedures will be considered using the Council's Customer feedback and Complaints Policy. You will be advised if this is the case, provided with the relevant timescales and next steps.

 

Complaints about a contractor of a service

If you have a complaint to make regarding a service which is delivered on behalf of the Council by a contractor or third party provider, in most circumstances, if they have their own complaints procedure, the Council would welcome the opportunity for them to put it right. If however you feel that you are unable to discuss the matter with the contractor or have not received a response from them, the Council will consider whether your complaint is appropriate to be considered under this procedure. You will be advised directly of the Council's consideration of the best course of action.

 

Complaints about a Council Policy

If you are unhappy or disagree with a Council Policy, it will not be considered as a complaint. Your comments will be forwarded to the relevant service for consideration. If however you feel that you do not have equal access to a Council service or you have been treated unfairly under a policy, your complaint will be considered under this procedure.

 

Anonymous complaints

All anonymous complaints (i.e. where individuals do not provide their name or contact details) will be investigated, however it will not be possible to provide a response. If however, an anonymous complaint does not provide enough information to enable the Council to investigate or to take further action, the Council will not investigate. Anonymous noise complaints cannot be investigated.

 

Complaints about schools

All schools have their own complaint procedures and in the first instance complaints should be directed to the schools. However if you feel your complaint would not be appropriate to be forwarded to a school, the Council may consider whether it is appropriate under this policy.

 

Elected Members

Complaints about Elected Members/Councillors are reviewed under the Council's Code of Conduct for Members.

 

Insurance Claims

Complaints involving personal injury and/or loss or damage to property will be dealt with separately by the Council's Insurance Team and not under this procedure. 

 

Employee conduct or behaviour

Complaints about members of staff either in isolation or as a wider complaint can be submitted by emailing: foiandcomplaints@stockton.gov.uk. These will always be investigated however depending on the nature of the complaint about the member of staff, it may not be possible to share with you the full details of the investigation and outcome.

 

Freedom of Information (FOI) responses

If you are unhappy with the response to your FOI, you can request an internal review and escalate to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) if you still remain unhappy.

 

Complaints older than 12 months

The Council will not usually investigate any complaint made more than 12 months after the date of the event /matter that instigated the complaint, or the date that the complainant became aware of it. Time delays can mean that a thorough investigation is no longer possible. Consideration will be given to complaints where there are special circumstances leading to delayed reporting.

 

Complaints sent directly to a Senior Manager, Director or Chief Officer

Complaints received by the Council, whether directed/addressed to a Chief Officer or Senior Officer of the Council will be processed in line with this policy. Complaints will be acknowledged, coordinated and responded to by the central team.

 

Complaints subject to legal proceedings

If legal action is being taken either by yourself or by the Council, the Council may not deal with your complaint if it is considered that to do so would prejudice the conduct of those proceedings. There may also be circumstances where a complaint may need to be put on hold until after the legal proceedings have taken place. In either case, you will be informed of the Council's decision.

 

Complaints which have concluded

Complaints which have already been fully investigated by the Council and the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman will not be dealt with under this procedure.

 

Complaints regarding Data Protection or misuse of personal information

Complaints regarding Data Protection will be dealt with under the Council's Data Breach procedure. For example if you think the Council has not handled personal information appropriately.

 

Complainants regarding personnel matters

Complaints from members of staff regarding matters concerning the workplace will not be dealt with under this policy. Complaints should be reported to a line manager or Human Resources directly.

 

Confidential Reporting Policy (Whistleblowing)

Council officers can confidentially report their concerns about aspects such as fraud or corruption to bullying and harassment in the workplace via the Council's Confidential Reporting Policy. A copy of this policy is available on the Council's internal intranet.