We have made the following changes to our corporate complaints policy in response to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The following changes will apply to all complaints to be considered under the corporate complaints policy currently within the Council’s system and all those received until further notice.
Please note that our website has been updated with changes to services (e.g. closures) that will apply during this period in order to reduce transmission. We can only accept complaints relating to these service levels (not former levels) while they are in place.
How to make a complaint
At present you cannot call into the Customer Centre, Middlesbrough House to make a complaint. Instead, please use our other channels:
- Use our online form
- Email us at email@example.com
- Phone us on 01642 729814
- Write to us at Complaints Team, PO Box 506, Middlesbrough, TS1 9GA.
How we will deal with your complaint
Your complaint will be first considered by our complaints team, who will:
- aim to acknowledge your complaint within one working day;
- engage with you to fully understand your issue(s) and your expectations;
- fully and accurately record the details of your complaint;
- advise you of what we will do about your complaint, and what will happen next; and
- tell you about support and advocacy services, should you need these.
If we can take action straight away to resolve your complaint satisfactorily without going through our formal complaints process then we will do this in agreement with you. If we are unable to do this within three working days of receiving your complaint, then the following process will be applied:
- An investigation by the corporate complaints team, with recommendations to be made to the relevant Director for approval. The complaints team will agree a timescale for responding to your complaint with you, which will not be longer than 20 working days. During the investigation, you will be informed if there will be any delay in meeting this agreed timescale for response.
- Once the investigation is completed, the complaints team will write to you with their findings and will advise you whether your complaint is upheld, partially upheld, or not upheld. If we are at fault, we will apologise and tell you how we plan to put things right.
- At this point, the Council’s corporate complaints process ends. If you are unhappy with the outcome, we will advise you how to contact the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman is an independent body that provides impartial and prompt investigation and resolution of complaints of injustice through maladministration by local authorities. The Ombudsman can investigate complaints about how the Council has done something, but they can’t question what a council has done simply because someone does not agree with the Council’s decision.
The Ombudsman is unlikely to investigate your complaint unless you have given us the opportunity to consider your complaint under this, or other appropriate process. If, however, there is little prospect of a satisfactory outcome, we may advise you to contact the Ombudsman before our process has run its course.
To contact the Ombudsman, you can:
- Use the online form available on the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman website
- Phone them on 0300 061 0614
- Text the words ‘call back’ to 0762 481 1595
Please note that the Ombudsman has suspended all casework activity that demands information from, or action by, local authorities and care providers, in light of the current Coronavirus outbreak. When normal services resume, it will take into account any delays when considering whether or not complaints have been brought to them within the normal 12-month time period specified in legislation.