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Feedback and complaints about our services

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What is a complaint?

A complaint is when one or more members of the public tell us they are dissatisfied with:

  • the standard of a service provided by the council, either directly or indirectly
  • the behaviour and/or attitude of staff
  • a refusal, failure, delay, or lack of a service by the council or its staff
  • the quality and proficiency of spoken English language used by staff in the provision of a service
  • a failure to follow council policies and procedures

What is a compliment?

A compliment is when one or more members of the public tell us they are satisfied with:

  • any aspects of the council
  • the standard of service
  • the behaviour or attitude of staff
  • the quality and proficiency of spoken English language used by staff in the provision of a service
  • services provided by the council or its staff

What is a comment?

A comment is when one or more members of the public tell us how we might do things differently.

Our complaints procedures

We have four separate complaints procedures, covering different types of complaints:

These procedures ensure that complaints, compliments, and comments are dealt with quickly, fairly, and consistently.

Make a complaint or send us feedback

If you'd like to make a complaint, or submit a compliment or comment, you can do this by completing the online form.

Alternatively, you can email, or write to: Complaints Team, Ground Floor, Civic Centre, Middlesbrough TS1 2RH. You can phone the Complaints Team for advice and assistance on 01642 729814.

Please note, there is a different process for complaints against councillors.

Brief details on making a complaint are shown below. 

How the corporate complaints procedure works

Please note, the process differs for Children’s Services and Adult Social Care complaints – the differences are highlighted below.

Stage 1 - local resolution

At stage 1 your complaint will be dealt with by the service that you're complaining about. We will not normally consider events or issues that occurred more than 12 months ago. We will try to find a way of putting things right and look for a mutually agreeable resolution as quickly as possible. Where this is not possible, your complaint will be investigated and a written response provided. We will complete stage 1 within 20 working days wherever possible. You will be informed if these timescales change.

Note: The timescale is 10 working days for Children’s Services complaints, and between 20 working days and six months for Adult Social Care complaints.

Stage 2 - investigation

If you are not satisfied with our response at stage 1 and want to take the matter further then you must let us know within 20 working days of us completing stage 1. In that case you can request that your complaint is escalated to stage 2 of the process. In cases where this happens, a senior council officer - who is not responsible for the service you're complaining about - will investigate the complaint. We aim for this to happen within a maximum of 25 working days, although this may be extended to 65 working days if the case is complex.

Note: In the case of Children’s Services complaints, stage 2 investigations are carried out by an Independent Investigating Officer, who is overseen by an Independent Person. Adult Social Care complaints have only one stage.

We will tell you who is leading the investigation, how to contact them, and when the investigation will be completed. At the end of the investigation we will write and tell you what we've decided about your complaint and why.

If we refuse to undertake a stage 2 corporate complaint investigation, for example where we have already admitted that something was done wrong and offered a reasonable resolution, or where a stage 2 investigation would be unlikely to produce a different outcome, you still have the right to complain to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

If you're not satisfied with the outcome after your complaint has exhausted the relevant complaints process, you have the right to complain to the Local Government Ombudsman.