Complaints about a Council service
Arun District Council aims to provide you with services of the highest quality possible within available resources. Our contact with our customers is set on three basic principles: understanding, speed and fairness. However, if the Council fails to measure up to these expectations, we have a procedure for dealing with complaints from members of the public, which enables complaints to be dealt with in a fair and consistent way.
Arun’s complaints procedure does not cover routine requests for a service or information, or matters for which there is a right of appeal or a legal remedy.
We would always prefer to put things right straight away if possible, so if you are not happy with the way we have dealt with you, we would always direct you back to the person, section or department who handled the matter in the first place.
This initial review of your service level complaint will be carried out by a member of the relevant section or department with the aim of resolving the concerns you have raised. However, if your complaint cannot be resolved in this manner, the corporate complaints procedure can be implemented which involves two stages.
We will ask you to fill in our complaint form, giving full details of the problem. It is helpful if you provide as much information as possible - for example, reference numbers and dates of any correspondence. You can make a complaint online, but please ensure that you have read and understood the information on this page first. Paper complaint forms are available at all Council offices or by telephoning us on 01903 737709. If you need it, a member of staff will help you fill in the form. If you would prefer to record your complaint over the telephone, a member of staff will take down the details on the official form and send you a copy of what has been written down for you to sign and return. Your complaint will be co-ordinated by the Corporate Complaints Administrator, who will send you a written acknowledgement within 5 working days, telling you the name of the officer who will be dealing with your complaint. The person investigating a Stage 1 complaint will be a senior member of staff from the service area concerned. They will send you either a full answer or a progress report in writing within 10 working days. (Please note that Planning Services have a response period of 25 working days.)
If you are not satisfied with the reply you receive, then you should write to:
The Corporate Complaints Administrator
Arun District Council
Information Management Team
Arun Civic Centre
West Sussex, BN17 5LF
The complaint will then be formally investigated by an officer from a different service area. The investigating officer will talk to staff concerned, study reports and correspondence, and may make a visit if the problem is one where there is something to be seen. Where possible, this investigation will be completed within 20 working days. If this is not possible, you will be sent a progress report indicating the timescales for completion of their investigation.
When completed, the Stage 2 response will be passed to either the Chief Executive, a Director or the Group Head of Council Advice & Monitoring Officer who will then review and sign off the response within an additional 5 working days. The Stage 2 response will then be sent to you, advising you of the decision of the Investigating Officer.
If you are still not happy
Housing complaints only
The Localism Act 2011 has changed the way in which certain Housing complaints are dealt with. These changes involve the introduction of a Designated Person and/or referral to the Housing Ombudsman Service, rather than the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman. You will be notified on conclusion of Stage 2 whether your complaint should go to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman or the Designated Person/Housing Ombudsman Service.
The Designated Person can assist in resolving your complaint by providing a fresh, impartial and independent perspective. The Council has identified Councillor Jamie Bennett as the Designated Person for Housing complaints. In addition, your MP is also a Designated Person.
The Housing Ombudsman Service is independent of the Council and investigates complaints about the Council’s Housing Landlords service only. If you do not agree with the outcome of Stage 2, you can have your complaint referred to the Housing Ombudsman Service (HOS) in one of two ways:
- Immediately after the completion of Stage 2, the complaint can be referred to the Designated Person
- 8 weeks after the completion of Stage 2, you may progress your complaint to the HOS yourself without reference to the Designated Person
If you require your complaint to be considered by the Designated Person, before being referred to the Housing Ombudsman Service, you must write to either your MP or the Council’s Designated Person, Councillor Jamie Bennett, to explain why you are not satisfied with the outcome of investigations into your complaint and requesting that it is referred to the Housing Ombudsman Service. Contact details for the Designated Person will be supplied within the Stage 2 response. The Designated Person will contact you to discuss ways of resolving your complaint - where possible, this will be completed within 15 working days. If this is not successful, your complaint will then be referred to the Housing Ombudsman Service.
If you do not wish for your complaint to be considered by the Designated Person, you must wait 8 weeks from the date of the Stage 2 response before contacting the Housing Ombudsman Service yourself at:
Housing Ombudsman Service
Harbour Exchange Square
Telephone : 0300 111 3000 (lines are open Monday to Friday from 9:15 to 17:15)
Fax : 020 7831 1942
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Non housing complaints stage 3
If you do not agree with the decision at Stage 2, then you have the right to pursue your complaint with the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO). The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman is an independent person who investigates allegations of maladministration causing injustice to the person who has complained. The contact details for the LGSCO Advice Team are:
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman
PO Box 4771
Telephone: 0300 061 0614
Text: ’call back’ to 0762 481 1595
Complaints should be made using the LGSCO online form.