Complaints, Feedback and Compliments

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Complaint about the Council | Complaint about a Councillor

The Council strives to improve services by responding positively to all customer feedback, including complaints. 

If we have done something well we appreciate Customers taking the time to tell us.  Everyone likes to know that their work is appreciated and it helps us to know what our Customers think is important. Compliments will be passed onto the person concerned and his/her Manager.

If you are dissatisfied with the Council or its services we want to know about this as well.

A complaint could cover:-

  • A failure to provide information or give the correct information;
  • An unsatisfactory level of service, including delays and non-delivery of service;
  • A failure to follow the Council’s agreed policies and procedures;
  • The behaviour of staff or contractors employed by the Council including discrimination and/or harassment; and
  • Failure to fulfil statutory responsibilities.

 Things we don't deal with under the Complaints Policy:

  • Parking Ticket Appeals;
  • Planning Application Appeals;
  • Housing Benefit Appeals; and
  • Complaints about Councillors.

As part of our commitment we have a Customer Feedback and Complaints Policy.

How can I provide feedback or make a complaint?

Feedback or complaints can be submitted by: 

Completed forms or letters should be sent to:

Democratic Services Officer,
Democratic Services,
Town Hall,
Duke Street,
Barrow-in-Furness,
Cumbria,
LA14 2LD.

The Complaints Procedure

 

Most complaints can be dealt with quickly and satisfactorily by ‘front-line’ staff who provide the service.  This is the first opportunity for a service to resolve a Customer’s dissatisfaction. 

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive, your complaint will be recorded in the Complaints System and assigned to the Service Manager/Team Leader.  This is a Stage 1: Investigation complaint.  A full written response will be provided within 10 workings days.

If you remain dissatisfied you should tell us why Stage 2: Appeal.  The appropriate Assistant Director/Revenues and Benefits Manager/Senior Manager will review the complaint. A response will be made in writing within 20 workings days.

If you are making a complaint on behalf of someone else, please include their name and address.  If you are sending any documents or previous correspondence, please indicate whether or not you wish these to be returned to you.

We will investigate your complaint in a fair and equitable way to achieve a satisfactory solution to the problem.  However, if this is not possible or if you are unhappy with the Council's procedure, you have the right to refer your complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman who may undertake an independent investigation on your behalf. 

What if I'm still not satisfied?

We aim to settle as many complaints as possible through our complaints procedure.  However if you feel you need to take your complaint further you can ask the  Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman to investigate your complaint.  You can complete an  online complaint form via the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman website.  The Ombudsman is an independent person who investigates complaints about local Councils.

The Ombudsman contact details are: -

The Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman
PO Box 4771
Coventry  CV4 0EH

Telephone:- 0300 061 0614

For housing management issues ...

Designated Person / Housing Ombudsman

If you are a housing tenant and remain dissatisfied after receiving your response to your escalated complaint, you can refer the matter to either a designated person or the Housing Ombudsman.  

Referring an eligible complaint to a designated person means that you can send your complaint to your local councillor, your MP or the local Tenants’ Complaints Panel.  At this stage, your complaint will be reviewed, and a decision will be taken on whether the complaint can be resolved to the satisfaction of both the tenant and the council.  Your designated person has the power to refer the complaint to the Ombudsman if they feel this is the most appropriate channel. 

You may decide not to refer your complaint to the Tenant Complaints Panel and refer your complaint to the Housing Ombudsman instead. However, complaints cannot be sent to the Ombudsman until eight weeks after receiving your final response from the council.

Get in touch with Housing Ombudsman via their website

Housing Ombudsman Service

Exchange Tower
Harbour Exchange Square
London 
E14 9GE

Telephone: 0300 111 3000

email:  info@housingombudsman.org.uk

If you wish to refer the matter to our local Tenants' Complaints Panel, contact:

Democratic Services Officer,
Democratic Services,
Town Hall,
Duke Street,
Barrow-in-Furness,
Cumbria,
LA14 2LD 

or tel 01229 876543

Ombudsman's Annual Letter

On an annual basis The Local Government Ombudsman writes to the Council's Chief Executive with their reflections on the complaints received against the Authority over the year.  You can follow this link to  access these letters on the Local Government Ombudsman's web site.

Do you wish to make a complaint about the behaviour of a particular Member?

Code of Conduct for Borough Councillors - General Provisions

The Code of Conduct

Barrow Borough Council has adopted the following Code dealing with the conduct that is expected of Members and co-opted Members of the Authority when they are acting in that capacity as required by section 27 of the Localism Act 2011.

The Code reflects the seven ‘Nolan Principles’ for holders of public office.   

The Council’s Standards Arrangements detail the procedures for dealing with complaints, including complaints in relation to Town and Parish Councillors.

If you want to make a complaint about a Town, Parish or Borough Councillor you can use the complaint form.

There are some complaints we will not investigate as a Councillor code of conduct complaint, including:-

  • Complaints where a Member is not named;
  • Complaints that are not in writing;
  • Incidents of actions that are not covered by the Code of Conduct;
  • Incidents that are about a fault in the way the Council rather than the individual member has or has not done something;
  • Matters relating to the policies of performance of the Council generally. This may be a matter for the Local Government Ombudsman, but should first be sent to us under our council complaints process;
  • Complaints about employees;
  • Incidents that happened before a Member was elected; and
  • Matters which occurred when the Member was not acting in their official capacity as a Member.

Standards Arrangements

These arrangements set out how you may make a complaint that an Elected or Co-opted Member of this Authority or of a Parish/Town Council within its area has failed to comply with the Authorities Code of Conduct, and sets out how the Authority will deal with allegations of a failure to comply with the Authority's Code of Conduct.  Use the links below to view the Arrangements and associated appendices.

 


Register of Members’ Interests

The Council’s Monitoring Officer has a duty to maintain a Register of Members’ Interests of Members and Co-optees of the Authority.  Councillors are obliged to keep their Register up to date and to inform the Monitoring Officer of any changes.

The Register is open for inspection by the public at the Town Hall, Barrow-in-Furness, during normal office opening hours.  Please contact Democratic Services for more information.  Individual Declaration of Interest Forms are also published on the Council's website.  Please use the links below to take you to the relevant areas:-

The Register contains those interests which must be disclosed by legislation (these are called Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) and those interests which the Council has also decided should be registered (Other Registrable Interests)

Dispensation

The Audit and Governance Committee can grant dispensations for borough Councillors allowing them to speak and vote at meeting when they have a disclosable pecuniary interest.  In certain circumstances the power to grant a dispensation is delegated to the Monitoring Officer.  Town/Parish Councillors should seek dispensation from their Town/Parish Council.

The register can be accessed via the following link.

Independent Person

The Council's appointed Independent Person is Mr Stephen Murray.

Independent Persons assist us in assessing complaints or alleged misconduct of elected Councillors within the Borough, Town and Parish Councils in Barrow-in-Furness.

The views of the Independent Person(s) will also be sought and taken into account before a decision is made on a complaint which has been investigated.  They may also be consulted on other standards matters, including by the elected Councillor who is subject of an allegation.

Independent Persons may also be required to attend an independent panel to offer advice, views or recommendations on any proposal for the dismissal of a statutory Officer of the Borough Council.

Complaints

If you feel that the Code of Conduct has been breached please contact the Council’s Monitoring Officer;-

Monitoring Officer
Barrow Borough Council
Town Hall
Duke Street
Barrow-in-Fruness
Cumbria
LA14 2LD
Email: monitoring@barrowbc.gov.uk