Stage 1. Make your complaint

Contact the person or office responsible

The person or office responsible for the service you are dissatisfied with is in the best position to put things right quickly.

If the service is not listed, use the council form

Fill in the council form

Fill in our simple online form to make a complaint to the council.

Clock Completing this form takes around 5 minutes

Complain online

After you've complained

We do our best to resolve problems brought to our attention and can put many problems right straight away.

If this is not possible we aim to reply to you within 6 working days. If we need more time to investigate your enquiry, we will let you know why, and give you a date when we will reply.

We are not able to provide a response or contact you if you chose to remain anonymous.

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Stage 2. If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your complaint

Tell the person you have dealt with that you wish to have the complaint looked at by the appropriate senior manager.

The senior manager will arrange for your complaint to be investigated and we will aim to give you a written reply within 15 working days. If we need longer to look at your complaint we will let you know.

Stage 3. If you are still not happy, complain to the council's complaints officer

You can ask the council's Corporate Customer Standards Officer (CCSO) to review it. They will aim to give you a written reply within 20 working days, after carrying out the review. If we need longer to look at your complaint we will let you know.

Stage 4. If this doesn't resolve the issue, go to the Ombudsman

If you are still dissatisfied after we have investigated and reviewed your complaint then you can ask the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman to investigate your concerns.

They consider complaints if you've suffered because of:

  • the way a council service has been given
  • how a decision has been made.

The Ombudsman usually only considers your complaint once it's been through the council's complaints procedure.

They publish an annual report for each council:

Kirklees' complaints procedure

How we deal with your complaint

Many council decisions are described in law and/or in council policy. This ensures the council is as consistent as possible with the way it considers requests for service and that public money is spent appropriately.

When we review a complaint, we look at how we should have done things in accordance with the law and/or procedures, and compare that against how we actually dealt with the issue you raised. We might find fault if there is a difference between the two.

If we find a fault, we then look at what the impact of the fault was to see whether your situation would be different if we had dealt with the matter in accordance with legislation and procedures. If there is an impact to you then we will look to see how we can address this impact. We will also look to learn from the complaint and consider whether we should do things differently in future.

As a public funded organisation, the council does not offer large sums of financial compensation to resolve a complaint. We therefore, usually look to see if we can restore you to be in the position you would be in as if the complaint had not occurred.

When your complaint is considered, officers must always consider government legislation and council policy - if the service has followed these procedures then it is unlikely any complaint can be upheld or that you will get a different response by making a complaint.

There are three stages to our complaints procedure but we hope that most problems can be resolved quickly at the first stage.

When we might not use the full complaints process

The council complaints process is a free service for individual complainants, but we have to ensure we offer value for money. We also don't want to make the process unduly difficult for residents to use.

Occasionally we may decide to progress a complaint more quickly through the complaints process meaning one of the stages are missed. There are a number of reasons why this may happen:

  • If it is immediately obvious your complaint should be considered by a Senior Manager (where the complaint may start at stage 2)
  • If it is clear the situation has not been caused by a council error and fault is unlikely to be found stage 2 and 3 of the process may be merged. An example would be where it is clear the council has followed the appropriate legislation

There will also be rare occasions where the council will conclude at an early point that a full complaints investigation is unnecessary. This is most likely where it appears that a full investigation is unlikely to give us any more information about the situation or provide you with the outcome you are seeking. In this instance, you will still receive a full reply from us which explains the situation.

Councillor involvement in complaints

Elected members play an invaluable role in complaints handling as they can work as a link between officers and the resident who has lost faith in the service provided.

The main role of elected members is to enable the complainant to effectively progress their complaint by explaining the options and to support the resident if necessary. However, it is not the Member's role to become involved with the physical decision-making by the council, nor to seek to influence the outcome of a complaints decision, or to set out how the complaint should be considered under the procedure.

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