Ryedale District Council

 

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Comments, compliments and complaints procedure

Your views on our services are important and this is why we have a Comments, Compliments and Complaints scheme. It makes it easier for you to tell us what you think about our services.

We are committed to providing efficient and effective services to the people of Ryedale. Our aim is to provide services of high quality on a basis that is fair to all. We also want to make sure our services meet the needs and wishes of the people who use them or are affected by them.

If you are pleased with a service we provide or the way a member of staff has dealt with you, we would like to know.

If you have an idea or suggestion that could help us improve our services let us know.

You can do this by:

Where a reply is needed we aim to provide a full reply within 5 working days.

 

In any organisation, things occasionally go wrong. When this happens we need to know you are unhappy with the service you have received so we can try to put things right and ensure that this doesn’t happen in the future.

We take all complaints seriously and see all complaints as an opportunity to improve our services.

Our Complaints Procedure ensures:

  • Making a complaint is as easy as possible
  • Complaints are treated seriously, however they are received
  • Complaints are dealt with promptly and efficiently
  • Every effort is made to resolve complaints
  • Fairness and opportunity is available for all through accessible services
  • The Council learns from complaints, taking appropriate steps to improve our approach and service provision
  • Individuals or groups making a complaint will not suffer as a result of making their complaint

What is a complaint and who can make one?

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction, however made, about standards of service, actions, or lack of action by the Council or its employees affecting a customer or a group of customers.

Complaints will be dealt with under the Complaints Procedure 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
  • Discriminated against you
  • Treated you unfairly or discourteously
  • Acted in a way contrary to the Council’s policies and procedures

If you are not satisfied with the Council you are entitled to make a complaint. This is a guide as to what is a complaint and our two-stage Complaints Procedure. The Council will not usually deal with anonymous complaints. A request can be made for a complaint to be dealt with in confidence.

Most of the contact we will have with you are enquiries or comments rather than complaints. The Complaints Procedure does not cover:

  • Requests for a service
  • Requests for information
  • Requests for an explanation of or an appeal against a decision made by the Council
  • Provision of information about an issue or problem
  • Complaints which need to be referred to the Council’s insurers
  • Referral to or appeals concerning 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
  • The conduct of a Councillor. These will be sent to the Council’s Monitoring Officer - see Dealing with allegations of a breach of the Members' Code of Conduct (PDF, 4 pages, 77kb)

Where a complaint cannot be dealt with under the Complaints Procedure you will be informed of any alternative procedures to use.

How do I make a complaint?

All complaints should be made in the first instance to the individual Service Unit concerned by:

  • Completing the online Corporate Comments, Compliments and Complaints Form
  • Emailing us at Feedback
  • Telephoning our Customer Contact Centre on 01653 600666 and ask to speak to the Customer Service Lead, Team Leader or Prinicipal Specialist
  • By letter to the Customer Service Lead, Ryedale District Council, Ryedale House, Old Malton Road, Malton YO17 7HH
  • Contacting your local Councillor - find your Councillor
  • A relative, friend or organisation with your written permission

The designated Complaints Officer is:

Customer Service Lead
Ryedale District Council
Ryedale House
Malton
North Yorkshire
YO17 7HH

Tel 01653 600666 ext 220
Email

The Complaints Officer will refer your complaint to the manager of the service involved for you, unless they decide to bypass the first stage of the Complaints Procedure and advance your complaint to Stage 2 as a Formal Complaint. If you address your complaint in the first instance to the Leadership Team, it may be referred to the Service concerned to be investigated under Stage One of the Complaints Procedure.

All complaints must be made within 12 months of the event, or within 12 months of becoming aware of the need to complain. The Chief Executive may waive this time limit in exceptional circumstances.

Who can I ask to help me make a complaint?

If you need help with making a complaint, a member of our staff not involved in the complaint can help or alternatively, a relative, friend or an organisation can represent you as long as they obtain your written permission.

Various organisations offer this type of support, including:

  • Citizens Advice Bureau Tel 08444 111 444 (Advice Line)
  • Age Concern Tel 01723 379058
  • Carers Resource Tel 01723 850155

 

Stage One: Initial Assessment and Prompt Resolution

Most complaints are of a simple nature requiring remedial action either immediately or within 5 working days. We will inform you when you make your complaint of what action we will take and when. If it’s not possible to resolve it within 5 working days you will be kept informed of progress until remedial action is complete. Some problems obviously cannot be resolved immediately and/or more detailed investigations need to be made. The Team Leader or Principal Specialist are responsible for ensuring your complaint is dealt with and for keeping you informed. Our aim is to give you a full and final response in writing after no more than 15 days. If you are unhappy with our proposed resolution your complaint may then proceed to Stage Two.

Stage Two: Formal complaint

At this stage your complaint is dealt with one of the Leadership Team.

All complaints that reach this stage should preferably be in writing, if possible on the Comments, Compliments, Complaints Form, by letter or e-mail. Please include all the information from your original complaint including any reference numbers, dates and names, describe outstanding issues and the action you have requested to resolve your complaint. If you are phoning or need help with the form a member of staff can complete it for you. It can also be submitted online at www.ryedale.gov.uk. You may also wish to seek help from a friend, relative or from the Citizens Advice Bureau or similar organisation.

Stage 2 complaints are usually:

  • Made if you are unhappy about how we resolved the complaint at Stage 1
  • About a serious or complex matter that we have failed to resolve to your satisfaction

We will try and resolve the complaint and let you know in writing within 5 working days. If resolution is going to take longer than this we will tell you how long we think it will take and keep you updated with our progress.

Under Stage Two we will write and tell you if we propose to take any further action and by when.

We will inform you when we consider your complaint has been resolved. If you are not satisfied that your complaint has been resolved you have the option of referring it to the Local Government Ombudsman. We will provide a complaints leaflet published by the Local Government Ombudsman with our final reply.

All complaints will be reported as a matter of course to the Council’s Leadership Team and to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee roughly every three months.

The Local Government Ombudsman

If you are not satisfied with the outcome after Stage 2 you may contact the Local Government Ombudsman and ask for an independent investigation to be carried out. The Ombudsman is not part of the Council and the service is free of charge. Please bear in mind that the Ombudsman will normally only consider your complaint after it has been through the Council’s own Complaints Procedure.

Local Government Ombudsman
PO Box 4771
COVENTRY
CV4 0EH

Copies of the leaflet published by the Local Government Ombudsman, "Complaint about the council? How to complain?" are available at Ryedale House, Malton and on the LGO website.

Remedies

When a complaint has been found to be justified, the Council’s objective will be, as far as possible, to put you in the position you would have been in had things not gone wrong. Depending on circumstances, this will usually be achieved by:

  • Apologising to you and explaining what went wrong
  • Providing the service you wanted
  • Changing things so that the cause of your complaint is not repeated

There may be circumstances where you feel justified in seeking financial compensation from the Council for the loss incurred. All such cases will be considered by the Leadership Team and you will be kept informed of progress.

The Council will deal with a complaint confidentially and your identity will only be made known to the person considering the complaint. In some circumstances it may not be possible to preserve confidentiality, for example where relevant legislation applies or allegations are made which involve the conduct of third parties.

Where a complaint cannot be dealt with confidentially we will explain why. You may then choose whether or not to continue with your complaint.

Irrespective of the decision, the complaint will be recorded but all personal details will be excluded.

The Council will not usually deal with anonymous complaints.

Whilst the Council endeavours to respond with patience and sympathy to the needs of all complainants there are times when there is nothing further which can reasonably be done to assist or rectify a real or perceived problem. A minority of the complaints made to the Council

may become persistent, vexatious or deliberately repetitive. Whilst the vast majority of complainants do not fall into this category, there will be a small number of complainants who despite having their complaint investigated will not accept the matter is concluded. In such cases the complainant(s) may be considered under the Habitual or Vexatious Complainants Policy.

The Council Solicitor will notify complainants in writing the reasons why their complaint has been treated as habitual or vexatious and the action that will be taken. This does not exclude the complainant raising new issues significantly different from the original complaint for which a response will be required.

 

If you make a complaint about a service that is not controlled by Ryedale District Council we will if possible give you the contact information for the organisation, and if possible for a specific person.
Our role is over at this point. The Council will not act as an intermediary or become involved in following up complaints relating to services for which it is not responsible. If possible, complainants may be referred to other organisations that may be able to provide additional assistance. However, whilst the Council will not take up individual complaints it may take up matters on behalf of the community where there has been a clear failure on the part of that organisation.

 

Where the substance of a complaint is racist, sexist or otherwise abusive the Council is able to refuse to accept the complaint.

Where the person making a complaint behaves in an abusive or threatening way or makes racist or sexist remarks in lodging their complaint, the Council is able to refuse to accept the complaint.

 

The conduct of elected councillors is covered by the Members‘ Code of Conduct.

If you believe an elected councillor is in breach of the members’ code of conduct and you wish to make a complaint, this should be sent to the District Council’s Monitoring Officer.

See Dealing with allegations of a breach of the Members' Code of Conduct (PDF, 4 pages, 77kb)

 

Any information supplied in relation to complaints may be held in a computerised form and will be passed to the Service. Data may also be passed to your Ward Councillor as the elected representative for your area.

 

  • Customer Contact Centre 01653 600666
  • Website www.ryedale.gov.uk
  • Email

or

Customer Service Lead
Ryedale District Council
Ryedale House
Malton
North Yorkshire
YO17 7HH

Tel 01653 600666

Email

 

 

Contact us


Ryedale District Council
Ryedale House
Old Malton Road
Malton, North Yorkshire
YO17 7HH

Email: Contact the Council

Phone: 01653 600666

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