We want you to tell us what we are doing right, what we could do better and what we are doing wrong.
Find out about:
What is a comment or compliment?
A comment is a suggestion or idea about how a function or service provided by the council could be improved.
A compliment is an expression of satisfaction about a function or service provided by the council, or about a specific member of staff.
We will always pass on your feedback to those involved, we may contact you to discuss your comments.
You can send us your comments or compliments here.
What is a complaint?
A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction about the standard of service, or the actions (or lack of action) of the council, our employees, or those acting on our behalf.
We take complaints seriously and use them as an opportunity to listen to the views of our customers and see how our services can be improved.
We will not treat certain issues as complaints, and where this is the case, we will let you know. For example:
- if you ask us for a service – we will seek to provide the service you have requested
- if you ask us for information or an explanation of council policy or practice – we will seek to provide the information requested
- any issue that is being dealt with in court – such as where we are pursuing legal action against someone
- any issue that we have fully investigated previously
- criminal activity will be referred to the police
- complaints that a councillor has broken the code of conduct must be referred to Standards and Audit Committee
- any complaints arising out of actions or omissions which occurred more than 12 months previously
General enquiries, Freedom of Information requests and data protection requests
Some enquiries aren't really comments, compliments or complaints - so we have different ways of getting in touch depending on what you want to do:
Who can complain?
Anyone who feels that they have had a poor service from us, or from someone providing a service for us.
If you complain to us but feel you can’t give us your name, we will not deal with your complaint under the complaints procedure. However, we will ensure steps are taken to deal with the issue.
You can also use an independent advocate or third party to act on your behalf for all or part of the complaints process. They must be fully authorised to act in this capacity and we may ask them to provide evidence that they have authority to act on your behalf. Any costs for the use of an advocate will need to be met by the complainant, unless this forms part of a reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act 2010.
What can a complaint be about?
The complaint must be about something which we have responsibility for. The complaint can be about one or more of the following:
- poor quality of service
- refusal to provide a council service
- delay in providing a council service
- the conduct of a member of staff
- if someone feels that, compared to others, they were unfairly treated under a council policy, or they do not have equal access to a council service
- an IT systems failure
- where we did not follow council procedure
- where errors were made
How to send us your comment, compliment or complaint
If you have a comment, compliment or complaint, the best way to let us know is online through My Chesterfield.
When you send us your feedback through My Chesterfield you can keep a track of it through your account, and can refer back to the information you have sent to us.
If you don't want to contact us through My Chesterfield you can send your comment, compliment or complaint:
- by phone on 01246 345345
- in writing to Customer Feedback, Town Hall, Rose Hill, Chesterfield, S40 1LP
- through an independent advocate or third party (such as the Law Centre or Citizens Advice)
Send us your comment, compliment or complaint online
You can send us your feedback securely online through My Chesterfield.
Please have full details ready of what you are contacting us about (including dates, times and people involved if necessary), you won't be able to save the form part way through.
Please don't use this form for sending general enquiries, Freedom of Information requests or data protection requests.
Protecting your privacy - find out how we protect your information
What we will do
If we are able to resolve your issue at the first point of contact when report it to us, we will.
If this is not possible, we will assign your complaint to the Complaints Officer and you will receive acknowledgement that your complaint has been received.
Our complaints process has different stages:
Stage one – investigation and resolution
When we receive your complaint, we will contact you to acknowledge it within five working days either by telephone, email or in writing.
We will carry out an initial review of your complaint and decide who should carry out the investigation. We will sometimes contact you for further information.
We will keep you updated throughout the investigation, and will aim to resolve your complaint within ten working days. If the complaint can’t be completed within this time, then we will let you know, explaining the reasons why.
You will receive a full written response from the person dealing with your complaint unless you advise us otherwise. The response we give will make it clear if the complaint is upheld or not.
Stage two – escalation
If you are not happy with the outcome of the first stage investigation, you can request a review of this decision. This review should be requested within 20 working days of the stage one response being issued. We will contact you to understand why you feel your complaint has not been resolved, and identify any possible gaps in the investigation. You will be given fair opportunity to set out your position, and we will do what we can to resolve any concerns.
We will then decide if a review of your complaint will be undertaken.
If required, the findings will be reviewed by a senior member of staff. This person will have had no prior involvement in the case. They will address any points raised and ensure that we have followed the correct processes. A review is not another investigation but will look at providing you with an answer to the complaints you feel remain unanswered.
At this stage, your complaint will usually be dealt with within 20 working days. If it is not possible to complete the review within this time we will let you know, explaining the reasons why. In most cases, a review will not take longer than the initial investigation unless there is a requirement for further investigation.
Please note that not all complaints will progress onto the review stage but we will always write to you to let you know why this is and to let you know who you can contact if you remain unhappy with our decision.
Where an extension is required, this will usually be resolved in an additional ten days. However, in some cases, these timescales could be extended, for example if a complaint is particularly complex.
We will keep you updated on the progress of your complaint. You can also keep track of progress through your My Chesterfield account if you sent us your complaint online.
All complaints are recorded for monitoring and service improvement purposes.
If you are not happy with the outcome of your complaint
If your complaint is regarding a housing issue (and the council as a housing landlord) you can complain to the Housing Ombudsman if you are dissatisfied with the way a complaint has been handled, or if you disagree with the decision.
Please note the Housing Ombudsman only deals with enquiries relating to the council being a housing landlord. It does not include complaints around homelessness, the housing waiting list or the Careline service. Complaints relating to these services are dealt with by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (see below for more information).
The Housing Ombudsman will only investigate a complaint once the council’s procedure has been completed in full, in order to allow the complaints officer to try to bring about a resolution.
Call the Housing Ombudsman on 0300 111 3000 or visit www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk for more information.
Other council issues
For all other issues, you have the right to complain to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.
In most cases the council will be given an opportunity to respond before the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman will investigate a complaint made against it.
Call 0300 061 0614 or visit www.lgo.org.uk for more information.
Once an investigation is concluded, the Ombudsman will notify the council in writing of it’s findings.
Management of unreasonable complaints or customers
The council aims to deal with complaints and customers in a way which is fair and impartial. On occasion customers may behave unreasonably or make unreasonable complaints.
Our policy on the management of unreasonable complaints sets out how we deal with this.
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