How to complain
We aim to provide a first-class service to you, but sometimes we may not get it right.
It is important that you complain to us if you feel we have let you down in any way. Your complaint will help us to:
- Put things right for you;
- Make sure we don’t make the mistake again;
- Improve our services for everyone.
If we have been unable to informally resolve your complaint at the point that you expressed your dissatisfaction to us, you can lodge a formal complaint for investigation.
If you are approaching us for a service for the first time, (e.g. such as reporting a faulty street light or requesting an appointment etc) then this policy does not apply. You should first give us a chance to respond to your request. If you make a request for a service and are not happy with our response, you will be able to make your concern known through the complaints process. There are two stages, stage one being an informal resolution within 10 working days and stage 2 a formal investigation within 20 working days. If you remain dissatisfied you have the option of escalating your complaint to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.
Normally, we will only be able to look at your concerns if you tell us about them within 12 months.
If you are expressing a concern on behalf of somebody else, we will need their agreement to you acting on their behalf.
Any complaints regarding Social Care will be addressed via the statutory Social Care Complaints Procedure. For further information visit the Complaints about Social Care Services page.
The Corporate Complaints process is not able to address a complaint regarding a Councillor. For further information visit the Complaints about Councillors page.
The Corporate Complaints process is not able to deal with matters of a “claim/civil litigation” nature, where you consider you are entitled to compensation in respect of any believed wrong doing by the Authority. Any such matters should be presented as a claim via the claim procedure. Neither can the corporate complaint process address any complaint/concern you may have over the subsequent outcome of any claim presented, it could only address the way the Authority handled the matter not any decision made. The claim handler involved, will be able to explain what further action, within the civil litigation process, could be taken following the completion of the claim should you be unhappy with their decision. For further information visit the Insurance Claims page.
What is a Complaint?
A complaint is:
- an expression of dissatisfaction or concern
- either written or spoken or made by any other communication method
- made by one or more members of the public
- about a public service provider’s action or lack of action
- or about the standard of service provided
- which requires a response
whether about the public service provider itself, a person acting on its behalf, or a public service provider partnership.
A complaint is not:
- an initial request for a service, such as reporting a faulty street light
- an appeal against a “properly made” decision by a public body
- a means to seek change to legislation or a “properly made” policy decision
- a means for lobbying groups/organisations to seek to promote a cause.
Who do I complain to?
If possible, we believe it is best to deal with things straight away rather than try to sort them out later. If you have a concern, please raise it with the person you are dealing with. He or she will try to resolve it for you there and then. If there are any lessons to learn from addressing your concern then the member of staff will raise them with the appropriate officer.
Alternatively you can contact the complaints team. You can report your concerns or complaints here or download a complaint form.
The Complaints Officer will look into your complaint and reply within ten working days. If they cannot reply within this time they will keep you informed of their progress.
Please note that if your complaint is about certain areas of our social services, education or personnel service there are some procedures that you and we must follow by law. If you require further information the Complaints Officer can advise you about these procedures.
Stage 2 Formal Investigation
If it has not been possible to resolve your complaint at stage one or your complaint spans across more than one service area, we will undertake a formal investigation at stage two and respond to you within 20 working days.
Please contact Complaints Team, Torfaen County Borough Council, Civic Centre, Pontypool, NP4 6YB. Telephone 01495 742164 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Welsh Language Complaints - Welsh Language Standards & Compliance
The Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 established a legal framework to impose duties on certain organisations to comply with standards in relation to the Welsh language by way of secondary legislation (Welsh Language Regulation Standards).
The standards issued to Torfaen County Borough Council are listed in ‘Welsh Language Standards Compliance Notice - 30.09.15’
All our standards, including service delivery, policy making and operational are available to view on the Welsh language pages of our website, or in any of our council offices.
Complaints or concerns regarding the Welsh language, and English language will follow the same timeframes and steps highlighted in the Council’s Complaints Policy.
The Council will ensure that the investigating officers consult with any relevant legislation before determining whether the authority or service area has acted in accordance with legislative requirements or in line with approved policies and procedures.
Officers are able to contact the authority’s Welsh Language Officer for further advice, when dealing with a complaint concerning the Welsh Language Standards.
If you feel that the complaint has not been resolved satisfactorily or that someone is interfering with your freedom to use Welsh, you may complain directly to the Welsh Language Commissioner.
You can contact the Welsh Language Commissioner by:
Phone: 0845 6033221
Writing to: The Welsh Language Commissioner, Market Chambers, 5-7 St Mary Street, Cardiff, CF10 1AT
Alternatively call in to any of our council offices who hold a copy of the Commissioners Guide to making a complaint.
Training for Council Employees
We will ensure that staff receive training on how to effectively handle complaints in line with the relevant policy. Training will take place in English or Welsh, dependent on the requirements of staff.
A report detailing the complaints performance is submitted to the Council’s Chief Officers and Elected Members. Annual reports can be accessed below:
Some service users will not accept a decision taken in relation to their concerns or may contact the Council persistently about the same issue. This can result in unreasonable demands on the Council or unacceptable behaviour towards Council staff. The actions of persistent service users can take a disproportionate amount of time and resources which can affect the Council’s ability to do its work and provide a service to others.
It is accepted that some people may act out of character in times of trouble or distress. However, the actions of service users who are angry, demanding or persistent are considered unacceptable and these actions may lead to contact with the Council being restricted. The unacceptable actions by service users policy lists the actions that the Council regards as unacceptable.
Last Modified: 13/01/2023
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