Complaints policy and procedure
12.1. If after going through both stages of the procedure a complainant remains unhappy with the way their complaint has been handled by the council, they have the right to complain to the Ombudsman. For details of which Ombudsman will investigate the complaint, complainants can visit the relevant Ombudsman website, information shown below.
12.2. In most cases, the Ombudsman will normally only consider complaints if the complainant has exhausted the two stages of the council's complaints procedure. However, the Ombudsman has discretion to investigate a complaint prior to the council conducting its own investigation. For example, where the Ombudsman deems the complainant to be vulnerable or the case raises an issue of general concern to the public.
12.3. The role of the Ombudsman is to investigate complaints about 'maladministration' and 'service failure' and whether any 'fault' by the council had an adverse impact on the complainant. The Ombudsman does not question whether a decision by the council is 'right' or 'wrong' simply because the complainant disagrees with it. They only consider whether there was any fault in the way the decision was reached or how the complaint was handled.
12.4. In the case of complaints relating to a council housing tenancy or lease, prior to approaching the Housing Ombudsman the tenant (including leaseholders) has the right under the Localism Act of 2011 to refer the matter to a "Designated Person" which currently is a Councillor or MP.
12.5. The Designated Person may engage with the complainant and the council in trying to resolve the complaint or referring the matter to the Housing Ombudsman after it has been considered at all stages of the council's complaints procedures.
12.6. The Housing Ombudsman has the right to insist on a cooling off period of 8 weeks after the final stage response before accepting the complaint unless the tenant has already referred the matter to a Designated Person.
12.7. Additionally, the Housing Ombudsman may, on occasions assist residents throughout the life of a complaint giving opportunity to engage with the Ombudsman's dispute support advisors.
12.8. The contact details of the relevant Ombudsman's service are shown below.
Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman
PO Box 4771 Coventry CV4 0EH
Telephone: 0300 061 0614
Local Government Ombudsman's website at www.lgo.org.uk
12.9. If you are a council tenant or leaseholder with a housing specific complaint:
Housing Ombudsman Service
Exchange Tower Harbour Exchange Square London E14 9GE
Telephone: 0300 111 3000
Housing Ombudsman Service website at www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk.
12.10 Where a complainant takes a case to the Ombudsman, we will work with the Ombudsman to seek swift resolution of the complaint ensuring adherence to any requests for information and within the timeframes required.
12.11 Where information requested is either not available or cannot be achieved within the prescribed timeframe, we will provide a detailed explanation as to the reasons why.