We take complaints about our services seriously and deal with them in confidence. If something goes wrong you should tell us. We can then try to put things right and improve our services in the future.
You can make a complaint if you:
- Use any of our services
- Feel you should be able to use our services
- Are a carer, or you are acting on someone else's behalf.
If you are making a complaint on behalf of someone who uses our services, we will check that they have given you their permission to make the complaint.
What is a complaint?
We regard a complaint as any expression of dissatisfaction about our action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by us or on our behalf.
Who can complain?
Anyone can make a complaint to us, including the representative of someone who is dissatisfied with our service. Please also read the section on 'Getting help to make your complaint'.
What can I complain about?
You can complain about things like:
- delays in responding to your enquiries and requests;
- failure to provide a service;
- our standard of service;
- treatment by or attitude of a member of staff;
- our failure to follow proper procedure.
Your complaint may involve more than one council service or be about someone working on our behalf.
If your complaint is about Social Work Services, there is a separate complaints form and procedure, you can find out about this by visiting Social Work Complaints
What can't I complain about?
There are some things we can't deal with through our complaints handling procedure. These include:
- a routine first-time request for a service;
- a request for information or an explanation of policy or practice;
- a Freedom of Information Act or Data Protection Act request;
- requests for compensation from the council;
- things that are covered by a right of appeal, here are some examples:
- If your planning application is refused, you will have a right to request either an appeal to Scottish Ministers or a review by the planning authority's local review body. Which one depends on the circumstances of the application. The timescale for appeal, or review, will normally be explained in correspondence and the decision notice from the planning authority.
- If you believe your house is incorrectly valued for council tax, you can appeal directly to the Assessor.
If other procedures or rights of appeal can help you resolve your concerns, we will give information and advice to help you.
These are some things we can't deal with under the complaints process:
- where a statutory right of appeal exists (e.g. parking tickets or housing benefit);
- any service where you can use other methods to appeal (e.g. exclusions from school or pupil placements);
- planning applications that are still being considered;
- insurance claims;
- complaints that are in court or have been heard by a court or tribunal;
- complaints against councillors, which have to be made in writing to the Standards Commission (external link);
- dissatisfaction with decisions by the council, council committees or sub-committees. These should be taken up with the appropriate councillor.
How long do I have to make a complaint?
Normally, you must make your complaint within six months of:
- the event you want to complain about, or
- finding out that you have a reason to complain, but no longer than 12 months after the event itself.
In exceptional circumstances, we may be able to accept a complaint after the time limit. If you feel that the time limit should not apply to your complaint, please tell us why.
What happens when I have complained?
We will always tell you who is dealing with your complaint. Our complaints procedure has two stages:
- Stage one - frontline resolution
We aim to resolve complaints quickly and close to where we provided the service. This could mean an on-the-spot apology and explanation if something has clearly gone wrong and immediate action to resolve the problem.
We will give you our decision at stage one, in five working days or less, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
If we can't resolve your complaint at this stage, we will explain why and tell you what you can do next. We might suggest that you take your complaint to stage two. You may choose to do this immediately or sometime after you get our initial decision.
- Stage two- investigation
Stage two deals with two types of complaint: those that have not been resolved at stage one and those that are complex and require a detailed investigation.
When using stage two we will:
- Acknowledge receipt of your complaint within three working days.
- We may contact you to discuss your complaint. This may happen if we need additional details from you to understand why you remain dissatisfied and what outcome you are looking for.
- Give you a full response to the complaint as soon as possible and within 20 working days.
If our investigation will take longer than 20 working days, we will tell you. We will agree revised time limits with you and keep you updated on progress.
What if I'm still dissatisfied?
After we have fully investigated, if you are still dissatisfied with our decision or the way we dealt with your complaint, you can ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) to look at it.
Visit their website for more information http://www.spso.org.uk/
If your complaint relates to a care service we provide, you can choose whether to complain to us or the Care Inspectorate. You can find out more about their complaints procedure, or make a complaint, by contacting them.
The Care Inspectorate has several offices around Scotland. Please refer to http://www.scswis.com/
Getting help to make your complaint
We understand that you may be unable, or reluctant, to make a complaint yourself. We accept complaints from the representative of a person who is dissatisfied with our service. We can take complaints from a friend, relative, or an advocate, if you have given them your consent to complain for you.
You can find out about advocates in your area by contacting the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance.
We are committed to making our service easy to use for all members of the community.
If you have trouble putting your complaint in writing, or want this information in another format, such as large font, or Braille, please contact us.
Other ways to contact us about your complaint
If you are unable to complete our complaints form you can phone 0141 287 0900 to make a complaint.