Complaints, Comments and Compliments
Due to the ongoing coronavirus situation there may be delays in handling complaints made to Ribble Valley Borough Council. Rather than issue a blanket delay to our service standards for responses each case will be considered on its own merits and the Complaints Officer will inform complainants of likely delays as part of their initial assessment.
Coronavirus - Local Government Ombudsman update
In line with government guidance, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman is not currently accepting new complaints. They will accept complaints again when the situation improves and government guidance changes. You can find the most up-to-date information at www.lgo.org.uk or by listening to the recorded message on 0300 061 0614.
Comments and Compliments
Please use our feedback form to send comments and/or compliments to Ribble Valley Borough Council.
Ribble Valley Borough Council is committed to providing high quality services to all our customers. Our Complaints, Comments and Compliments Policy is designed to ensure we continually improve our services and remedy any situations where we fail to meet our standards.
The Council takes all complaints seriously and values customer feedback. The Council is committed to learning from complaints and to making changes to policies and procedures to prevent similar complaints recurring.
Aims of complaints policy
We aim to:
- make it easy for people to exercise their right to complain
- ensure all complaints are dealt with quickly and consistently
- improve the Council’s services
- enhance the image of the Council and its employees in the eyes of Ribble Valley residents
What the complaints policy covers
Definition of a complaint
Ribble Valley Borough Council defines a complaint as:A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction about a Council service, whether the service was provided by the Council itself or by somebody else on the Council’s behalf. In practice there is sometimes confusion about what constitutes a complaint. For example, when does a request for a service or objection to a decision or policy become a complaint? This policy does not intend to define precisely all possible complaints, though some examples are highlighted, but rather to demonstrate the general principles we work towards and the process of communication by which we can achieve satisfactory resolutions.
Formal and informal complaints.
The Council makes no difference in how we treat formal and informal complaints, they are both expressions of dissatisfaction that require a response. For the purposes of this policy, an informal complaint is one which can be satisfactorily resolved before entering the first stage of the formal process. Such complaints typically do not require a written response. Formal complaints begin with stage one of the Council’s process and a formal response will be given at their conclusion.
What complaints does the policy apply to?
Examples of types of complaint are covered by the complaints policy:
- a failure to provide a service
- an unsatisfactory level or quality of service
- a failure to follow the Council’s policy or procedures
- the absence of proper procedures
- delays in providing or completing a service
- a failure to provide information or a failure to give correct information
- complaints about the behaviour or attitude of a member of staff or contractors employed by the Council
- complaints of bias, malice or unfair discrimination
What is excluded from the complaints policy?
In some cases the complaints process may not be the best course of action. This may include decisions made by the Council 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. Examples of matters excluded from this policy include:
- Missed bin collections
- Complaints about the conduct of councillors – such complaints should be reported to the Monitoring Officer. Information about how to complain may be found on the Council’s website
- Freedom of information requests (FOI)
- Appeals against Council decisions using established procedures or Regulations
- Requests for an explanation of a decision made in line with Regulations or Council policy
- Off street parking enforcement is handled by Chipside Lancashire.
- Council tax, housing and council tax benefit appeals or queries. Please contact our Council Tax team in the first instance
- Pest control, dog problems and nuisance issues can be reported directly to our Environmental Health team.
- Planning appeals are handled by the Planning Inspectorate. See Planning appeals and refused applications.
- Breaches of planning control may be reported to our Planning Enforcement team.
- Investigating matters of employee discipline
- Complaints of which the complainant has been aware for 12 months or more before the initial complaint is made, unless there are good reasons for the delay.
Please note the complaints procedure will still apply to any part of the complaint that cannot be dealt with via the alternate options above - e.g. complaints about the conduct of a member of staff.
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.
Who can make a complaint?
Who can make a complaint:
- Anyone who is not satisfied with any service provided by the Council
- Anyone who has been affected by any error or omission in service provision.
- Anyone who claims to have suffered an injustice as a result of action taken, or not taken, by or on behalf of the Council.
Complaints by a relative or friend
Complaints can be made on behalf of a relative or friend, providing that appropriate signed consent has been provided along with the complaint to the Council.
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.