Here we set out what you should do if you are unhappy with a service we have provided. We have included:
We hope you find this information useful. However, if you need more help and advice, please get in touch. You can find our contact details at the bottom of this page.
We can provide this information on request in large print, Braille, on CD/audio cassette, or in different languages. If you would like a different format please phone 0191 433 3000.
When things go wrong we want to know about it
By giving us your views on our services, you can help us to:
put things right if we have made mistakes; and
continually improve our services and make sure we do not repeat mistakes.
How does the complaints process work?
Basically there are three steps. You may not have to go through all of these. It will depend on how satisfied you are with our response at the end of each stage. We handle most complaints following this process. However, depending on the nature of your complaint, we may deal with it differently. If this is the case, we will tell you straight away and tell you what to do.
Step 1 - Problem-solving
As soon as we get your complaint, we will try to sort it out quickly and informally by providing information or taking any appropriate action.
Step 2 - Investigation
If we cannot sort your complaint out immediately, we will send you a letter within three working days that tells you:
who you can contact about your complaint;
what we will do; and
how long we will take to deal with it. This is normally within 20 working days. If this is not possible, we will tell you why and give you a date when you will get a response.
Once the investigation is complete, you will receive the results in writing from a senior manager.
Step 3 - Review
If you are still unhappy, you can ask our Chief Executive to look again at your complaint. Please do this within 10 working days of receiving the outcome. The Chief Executive will give you a full response within 20 working days. However, this may take longer if your case is complicated.
Your Other Questions Answered
If I am not happy with the way my complaint is being handled, is there anyone else I can contact?
Yes. You can contact the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO). The LGO was set up by the Government to investigate complaints about councils.
You can call the LGO Advice Team on 0300 061 0614 to discuss your complaint. They can take all the details by phone, if that is what you prefer. Alternatively you can write to them:The Ombudsman's address is:
Local Government Ombudsman,
PO Box 4771
Text ‘call back’ on 0762 480 4323
I'm worried that if I complain, the service I receive will be affected
Definitely not. We always aim to provide the best possible service to all our customers, and we will not change that just because we are investigating your complaint.
Is the information I give you confidential?
Any information you give us is covered by Data Protection guidelines. This means that we:
will keep personal data safe and secure;
will not share it with other organisations without your permission, unless the law says we must; and
may use it to prevent and detect fraud.
I want to make a complaint, but want to stay anonymous - will you still look into it?
Yes. While it is helpful to us to know who you are so we can get in touch with you for extra details, we believe everyone has a right to complain. As a result we will investigate anonymous complaints thoroughly.
I don't have a complaint, but want to give you my views on a service - how can I do that?
We appreciate any comments about our services - good and bad. You can give us your views at any time in writing, by phone, by e-mail or in person.
Making Your Complaint
You can make a complaint (or compliment) in a number of ways. You can:
speak to your local Councillor;
visit any council office;
print a copy of the complaints and compliments form (23K PDF), complete it, and send it to us;
phone us on: 0191 433 3000 (ask for the service area you need);
email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org;
write a letter to:
Have your say
You can also contact your local MP or get advice about your complaint from Citizens Advice. The address of the local office is:
The Davidson Building
For Advice Line Tel: 0844 245 1288, for General Enquires Tel: 0191 4785100