Our Customer Feedback Policy sets out our approach to dealing with customer complaints, comments, and compliments, whilst adhering to the principles of both the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman and the Housing Ombudsman Service.
There are two stages to our complaints process, full details of what you can expect when making a complaint can be found in our Customer Feedback Policy
Summary of the stages:
We will acknowledge your complaint within 5 working days by either email or letter. A Service Manager will investigate your complaint
We will respond to your complaint in full within 10 working days from the date we receive it.
If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint you can request a review.
We will acknowledge your request within 5 working days by either email or letter. A Head of Service will conduct the review of your complaint.
We will respond to your request to review your complaint in full within 20 working days from the date we receive it.
Extending response times
On the rare occasions that we need to use our discretion to extend our response times to fully investigate your complaint, we will always tell you why. We will need to have a good reason to extend our response times by up to 10 working days at either stage 1 or stage 2.
Further details on when we may need to extend our response times can be found in the Customer Feedback Policy.
Stage 2 is the final stage of our complaints process.
If you remain dissatisfied after we have reviewed your complaint at stage 2, you can ask the relevant Ombudsman to review how we have handled your complaint.
Note: If your complaint is about our Housing Management Services, you can access the Housing Ombudsman Service throughout your complaint for impartial advice.
How can I make a complaint?
You can submit a complaint through our Customer Feedback form
Before submitting your complaint, please read through the section below which explains what cannot be considered under the feedback policy.
Our Feedback Policy does not cover:
Requests for a service
Common requests for service include, reporting a repair to a Council property, reporting a missed bin, fly tipping removal or litter picking. You can access and request a wide range of services through your Self-Service account.
Matters for which there is a right of appeal or a more appropriate or prescribed legal remedy e.g., Licences, Permits, Approvals, Consents, Permissions, Registrations, related planning and enforcement action. Or appeals in relation to Council Tax Banding, or Business Rates Relatable Value (RV).
When a decision is made and there is a formal right of appeal, you will be informed of the appeals process as part of the decision notice.
Please note, if your complaint relates to an active investigation (e.g. noise nuisance, planning enforcement) that we are undertaking and the outcome of this investigation has not yet been determined by our Officers, we reserve the right to close your complaint until the matter is concluded. If your complaint relates to a decision that has been lawfully made by the Council (e.g. Planning Permission) and you have a clear right of appeal in law against that decision, we reserve the right to close your complaint as the appeals process will take account of your relevant concerns. In either case, we will write to you to notify you of this.
Services provided by external organisations:
Lancashire County Council:
Lancashire County Council deliver various services in the Borough and complaints regarding their services must be directed to them. An example of some of the services that they provide include:
• Highway maintenance including potholes, gritting, roadworks, street lighting and temporary traffic lights
• Adult and Children's Social Care
For more information visit Lancashire County Council
The Valuation Office Agency (VOA)
As a Local Authority the Council is responsible for maintaining the Council Tax Banding & Business Rates Rating List and ensuring bills are calculated in accordance with the Band/Rateable Value as set by the Valuation Office Agency.
The VOA is an executive agency of HM Revenues & Customs and as the Local Authority we can only alter any Council Tax banding & Business Rates RV reduction/amendments to the date from which any change to the list comes into effect following the VOA decision.
Appeals should be raised directly with the VOA: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/valuation-office-agency
Valuation Tribunal Service (VTS)
You can appeal a decision made by the Council against the amount of council tax you have to pay for several reasons. E.g., if you think the council should give you a discount. The VTS are an independent body not connected with the Council and the tribunal will decide about liability on the evidence that the appellant and the Council present to it.
Further information relating to the VT the website address is: www.valuationtribunal.gov.uk
Complaints about Freedom of Information requests (FOI)
For further guidance, refer to Freedom of information
Requests for information or an explanation of Council policy or practice
For example: decisions regarding the assessment of a Housing Application as an appeals process is in place as part of the Housing Allocations Policy.
For further guidance, please visit our petitions pages
Complaints regarding issues that occurred over 12 months ago
In line with the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman, we will only consider complaints that are received within 12 months of the issue occurring. After this time, we will not consider your complaint.
The Housing Ombudsman published a new Complaint Handling Code in July 2020, setting out good practice that will allow landlords to respond to complaints effectively and fairly. All social housing landlords are expected to carry out a yearly self-assessment against the code to ensure our complaint handling is in line with the code. You can see our self-assessment here.