Stratford-on-Avon District Council seeks to provide quality, cost-effective services. This page explains how to make a complaint, and tells you how we will respond.
The authority defines a complaint as:
"An allegation that through action or inaction the council, or any of its staff, failed to deliver a service in accord with the council's policy or agreed standards of service."
Dealing with a complaint is not in itself an appeal against a decision made by the council or its duties. For instance, criticism of a planning decision or an appeal against a parking fine would not be treated as a complaint, unless it is with regards to not following correct procedure.
If your complaint relates to the actions of a third party and you are requesting a service from the council to investigate - for example you wish to complain about hygiene standards in a food business or you believe an operator is breaching license or planning conditions - please contact the relevant service directly, use the search tool to find help with your concern, or call the council on 01789 267575.
We will normally write to you within one working day of receiving your complaint in order to acknowledge receipt and to let you know how it will be dealt with. In most cases we will then write to you within 15 working days from this acknowledgement to answer your complaint.
While the council has explicit target timetables for dealing with complaints, it is acknowledged that given the complexities of some complaints, a resolution may not be possible within these times. If this is the case you will be kept informed of progress and the anticipated timetable for resolving the complaint at the earliest possible stage.
Where a complaint is received which relates to the actions of any council officers who are acting in an enforcement capacity, the council may decide to suspend investigation of the complaint until the enforcement case has been closed. This is to avoid the use of this complaints procedure to fetter the council's legitimate enforcement activities. Where this decision has been made you will be advised accordingly.
Please do not submit your complaint to the service team that is the subject of your complaint. If your complaint relates to the customer services team then please send your complaint to the Council's Monitoring Officer by post or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The customer services team will log your complaint and assign it to an appropriate manager so that progress of your complaint can be tracked and managed to ensure that our responses and decisions are fair, timely and consistent.
In a case where a complaint relates to the customer services team, the officer receiving the communication will forward it to the Monitoring Officer who will log and assign the complaint.
All relevant facts will be gathered and the appropriate manager will review the information and determine the outcome of the complaint. He/she will then write to inform you of this outcome, which will be one of three judgements:
The Manager will send a copy of the outcome to the customer services team.
If you are not satisfied with the manager's decision you should contact the customer services team (or the Monitoring Officer if the complaint relates to the customer services team) in the first instance, who will then direct your concern to the relevant senior officer.
The review will be carried out by either the Chief Executive, Deputy Chief Executive or Head of Service that line manages the manager and they will normally write to you within five working days.
The officer assigned to deal with the review will send a copy of the outcome to the customer services team.
The Council also has a policy in place to help ensure that corporate complaints are pursued in a reasonable manner (Unreasonable Behaviour Policy).
If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint, you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman.
The Council officer dealing with the matter will ensure that copies of all communications with the Ombudsman are copied to the customer services team.
The customer services team sends a monthly report to the Monitoring Officer, who oversees the process to ensure that individual corporate complaints are being managed in line with this procedure.