Complaints, comments and compliments
Before you make a formal complaint
Often, matters can be quickly resolved by contacting the relevant officer or service directly. You can do this face-to-face, by telephone, email, or by using the contact us online form:
You can also get some issues dealt with quickly by reporting a problem, for example a missed bin collection, a planning breach or a noise issue.
How to make a formal complaint
We are committed to providing high quality services, but occasionally things can go wrong. If you want to make a formal complaint, the quickest way to do this is by using the online form below. If we receive your complaint after 3pm, we will acknowledge it on the next working day and will aim to reply within ten working days.
You can find more information about the way we investigate and aim to resolve complaints below in the Corporate Complaints and Compensation Policy.
You can also make a complaint by email and phone. It’s important that you let us know how the problem has affected you and how you’d like us to put things right.
We would be grateful if you could provide us with a phone number in case we need to clarify the details of your complaint. We will still send our response by email or letter. If you are contacting us about housing matters, please also provide an address to help us locate your records.
Telephone: 0207 361 2060. Phone lines are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm.
Giving us feedback
As well as responding to formal complaints, we’re keen to hear about any suggestions you have which will improve the services we deliver. We also want to know when we’re getting things right so that we continue to work in a way that is best for our residents. You can give us feedback by using the comment or compliment form below.
We’ve updated our complaints procedure to a two stage process in order to address your concerns quicker than before.
Please note however, if your complaint crosses different Council services or if it’s more complex , it may take us a bit longer to respond but we will notify you of any delays.
- Stage One
At Stage One, the Head of Service will look into your concerns and will aim to reply to you within ten working days. If they need more time, it shouldn’t take more than 20 working days.
- Stage Two
If you are dissatisfied with the response at Stage One, please let us know within 20 working days of our response and we will move this onto Stage Two. If you need more time to do this, please let us know.
Be sure to tell us why you disagree, what outcome you are seeking and provide any supporting information that you’d like us to consider. The Director of the Department your complaint is linked to will look into your concerns and will aim to reply to you within 20 working days. If they need more time, it shouldn’t take more than 30 working days.
- Still not satisfied with the way the council has handled your complaint?
You can refer your complaint to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman or the Housing Ombudsman if your complaint relates to Housing Management, estate services or a repair. The Ombudsman are a free service who are independent, and their role is to investigate individual complaints in a fair and an impartial way.
Address: Local Government Ombudsman PO Box 4771 Coventry CV4 0EH
Telephone: 0300 061 0614
Address: Housing Ombudsman Service PO Box 152 Liverpool L33 7WQ
Telephone: 0300 111 3000
Corporate Complaints Policy
Complaints that are not managed through the complaints process
There are some occasions when a complaint cannot be dealt with under the corporate complaints process. If you refer something to us and we cannot consider it, we will let you know as soon as possible and inform you of any next steps.
Although this list isn’t exhaustive, some examples of complaints we cannot consider are;
- Matters for which there is a statutory right of appeal, for example appealing an unsuccessful homeless application decision or a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN)
- Complaints about a Council policy decision.
- Complaints where legal proceedings, court or tribunal action is due to, or already, being taken (although related issues that are not subject to legal proceedings may be considered).
- Complaints where the issue is better dealt with by another organisation or regulatory body.
- Complaints about Data Protection or Freedom of Information requests, although related issues about the quality of service may be investigated.
- Employee complaints about terms and conditions of employment, working conditions or personnel issues which come under the employee complaint procedure.
- Matters which are subject to an insurance claim.
- Complaints that are submitted anonymously (although we may still investigate).
- Complaints that have been raised more than 12 months after the event (unless there is good reason to).
- Reasonableness of service charges for leaseholders.
Are all complaints dealt with the same way?
Nearly all complaints are treated the same. There are, however, separate arrangements for dealing with complaints about Housing Management, Social Services, Schools, Parking Matters, Planning Applications and Housing / Council Tax Benefits. If you are unhappy with a decision about these services, the letter notifying you of the decision should explain how to complain.
Complaints, comments and compliments about Bi-Borough Children’s Services
- How to tell us about your concerns
If you feel that our staff or the services we provide have fallen below the standard you would expect and attempts to resolve the problem with the service provider yourself have failed, you may wish to escalate your concerns by filing an official complaint. It’s important for us to hear from you if things aren’t going well. We want you to tell us why you feel that things have gone wrong and how you would like us to put things right.
If we are not able to help you the way you would like us to, we will let you know and provide you with our reasons so that you might better understand how we reached our decision. Your feedback is important to us because it tells us where we could do things differently and helps us continually improve our services and the way we work with you. You can find information about the Council’s complaints procedure on the website.
- Who can complain?
Anyone can make a complaint about our staff or the service we provide. If you would like someone to help you make your complaint, such as a relative, friend or an advocate, do let us know. We treat complaints confidentially, so we will not share sensitive information with others unless we have your consent to do so. If you are a young person or a Looked After Child, and you would like to be supported by our independent advocacy team, you can contact them by emailing email@example.com
- Are all complaints the same?
Some complaints we receive are better responded to under the Children’s Statutory complaints procedure. We will let you know if we think this might apply and you can find out more here:
More information on the three stages your complaint will go through and the process surrounding the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman:
Stage 1 Complaints - Local resolution
Following receipt of your complaint, we will contact you within three working days. If we feel we need to clarify your concerns, we will get in touch with you using the contact details you’ve provided. This is important as we want to make sure we understand why you are unhappy and what you think needs to happen to put things right. You should then receive a response within 10 working days. Sometimes, we will need more time to respond to you, so this might take up to 10 more working days. We will let you know if we need this extra time. If you remain unhappy, we will offer you a meeting with a Manager or Head of Service to discuss the response. This is usually a positive way to work with you to resolve any differences or disagreement. Mediation or resolution meetings will be considered at this stage and all stages of the complaints process.
Stage 2 Complaints - Formal Investigation
If you are unhappy with the Stage 1 response, you can write to the Children’s Customer Relationship Manager explaining why you feel this way and the reasons you believe the response has not answered your complaint. You should do this within 20 working days and if there is mutual agreement, the Customer Relationship Manager will accept your complaint at Stage 2. During a Statutory Stage 2 complaint, an Investigating Officer (IO) is appointed to carry out an independent investigation into your concerns and an Independent Person (IP) is appointed to oversee that this investigation is fair. During the process of accepting and investigating a Stage 2 complaint, the IO and IP will meet with you to discuss your complaint and desired outcomes. This will inform a Statement of Complaint which will be sent to you to review and confirm. Once you confirm the areas of complaint that need to be investigated, the investigation will commence. The investigation often includes the IO and IP reviewing records and meeting with staff who are relevant to their investigation.
The aim is to investigate your complaint within 25 working days, but due to the complex nature of some Children’s Services Social Care Complaints, this time may be extended up to 65 working days. When the investigation is concluded, the IO and IP will write individual reports and send these to the Customer Relationship Manager. The Director of Family Services will then review the findings, outcomes and any recommendations and write you an adjudication letter which sets out their response to you.
Stage 3 Complaints - Review Panel and Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO)
If you are unhappy with the Stage 2 response, you can write to the Children’s Customer Relationship Manager and ask for your complaint to be considered by a Review Panel. You should do this within 20 working days of receiving the Stage 2 response and let us know why you feel there have been shortfalls in the investigation. If there is agreement, the Customer Relationship Manager will arrange for the complaint to be reviewed. The Review Panel will try to convene within 30 working days of your request and will be made up of three independent panel members, one of these members will chair the meeting. You can also ask your advocate, relative or a friend to speak on your behalf.
The Review Panel will send their recommendations to you and the Executive Director of Children’s Services within five working days of the meeting. The Executive Director should send you a letter with their final decision within 15 working days of receiving the Review Panel's recommendations. This concludes the Council’s internal statutory children’s social care complaints procedure.
- Complaints we may not be able to consider
We will always try to help where we can, but there are some concerns we can’t consider. If we cannot help, we will try to let you know who you might be able to contact.
Some of the issues we won’t be able to investigate are:
- Concerns that are being considered or have already been concluded in court or in Tribunal proceedings
- Complaints about the day to day running of a school
- Where there is an alternative appeals process, such as for school admissions
- If the issue you wish to log a complaint about is more than 12 months old
- How to get in touch with us
The Housing Management Complaints Policy explains how to make a complaint, the issues covered under this policy and how we deal with complaints about housing management services.
For complaints or comments you may have about Housing Management services please use the Complaints and feedback form.
You can also make a complaint or comment:
- by emailing us as HMfirstname.lastname@example.org
- telephoning us on 0800 137 111 or 020 3617 7080
- writing to us at Housing Management, 292a Kensal Road, London W10 5BE
- Complaints about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs)
The Council’s Parking services will not put a complaint through the formal complaints process if the complaint concerns the issue of a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN), a response to a Notice to Owner, or a Removal representation. If you wish to make a challenge or representation against your PCN please visit ‘Manage your PCN'.
- Complaints about Sports Centres
We produce statistics to show the numbers of complaints we received at each stage of our complaints process. Where a complaint highlights the need for changes in working practice, systems, staff training or procedure the officer is required to highlight this and other learning points and work with the services concerned to make sure the necessary actions to bring about the change are carried out.
More information on our complaints and comments procedures
Last updated: 10 June 2022