Complaints, Comments and Compliments

How to make a complaint

If you would like to make a complaint you can contact the Complaints Co-ordinator for advice about the process:
  • Email: diane.rice@ribblevalley.gov.uk
  • Phone: 01200 414418
  • Post: Complaints Co-ordinator, Ribble Valley Borough Council, Council Offices, Church Walk, Clitheroe, BB7 2RA.

To make a formal complaint you will need to fill out the complaints form.

Alternatively you can contact your local councillor and raise your complaint through them. If you do not know who your local councillor is or how to contact them you can find their details on the councillors page.

If your complaint is about a councillor see Complaints about Councillors.

Stage 1

Once you have made your complaint you will receive a written response within 15 working days.

You will be informed that your complaint has been passed on to an investigator or that the issues you want to complain about are not within the remit of the Council's complaints procedure.

As soon as the investigation has been completed you will receive a written response from either the Chief Executive or Director of the service area involved. We will aim to do this within 15 working days.

Stage 2

If you are not satisfied with the Director or Chief Executive's response you can request that your complaint proceeds to stage two. At stage two the Complaints Officer will call a meeting of the Complaints Appeal Panel to review your case. At this stage we reserve the right to refer the complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman.

The Complaints Appeal Panel consists of three Councillors supported by relevant officers.

The meeting of the panel will normally be arranged within three weeks or, if your case is something the panel can't consider, you will be informed immediately together with an explanation.

The panel will listen to your complaint and then listen to the response from council officers. You will be informed of the panel's decision within three working days of the panel meeting.

Local Government Ombudsman

You can refer your complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman at any time; however, it is likely that the Ombudsman will only investigate complaints when the authority has had the opportunity to carry out its own investigation.

The Ombudsman will investigate the way your case has been handled, or the council's failure to do something but does not question a council's decision because you do not agree with it.

You can make a complaint through the Local Government Ombudsman website www.lgo.org.uk/making-a-complaint

Or, the Ombudsman can be contacted at:

Tel: 0300 061 0614 
Fax 024 7682 0001
Text 'call back' to 0762 480 3014

The Local Government Ombudsman
PO Box 4771
Coventry
CV4 OEH

What is a complaint?

We define a complaint as:

“An expression of dissatisfaction about Council Services that requires a response”

In practice, complaints will be dealt with when we are notified that the Council has:

  • Done something badly or in the wrong way
  • Done something we should not have done
  • Failed to do something we should have done
  • Acted unfairly or impolitely
  • Not responded to a request for service
  • Acted contrary to the Council’s policies and procedures

Where there is any doubt, the Chief Executive will decide whether or not a matter comes under the Council’s definition of a complaint.

The Complaints Procedure does not cover:

  • Requests for a service
  • Requests for information
  • Requests for an explanation of a decision made in line with Regulations or Council policy
  • Provision of information about an issue or problem
  • Appeals against Council decisions using established procedures or Regulations
  • Investigating matters of employee discipline

Procedures for dealing with some types of complaints and appeals are already in place, and may be dealt with under specific legislation. Examples include:

  • Environmental health
  • Council tax, housing and council tax benefit appeals or queries
  • Car parks and car parking
  • Planning applications
  • Decisions made by the Council, a committee, sub-committee or an employee, where an appeal process is in place or a remedy is available by appealing to a committee, tribunal, Minister of the Crown, or by proceedings in a court of law
  • Issues affecting all, or most, of the people in an area
  • Issues relating to equality and diversity
  • Conduct of an employee or Councillor

Where a complaint cannot be dealt with under the Complaints Procedure the complainant will be advised of any alternative procedures to use, and, provided with appropriate information and guidance.

Complaints can be made on behalf of a relative or friend, providing that appropriate consent has been provided.

The Council will not usually deal with anonymous complaints. However, a complainant may request that a complaint be dealt with in confidence and we may decide that it is appropriate to do so.