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Home Page > Council and government > Customer Engagement & Feedback > Comments, Compliments and Complaints

Comments, Compliments and Complaints

Help us to better understand what we are doing well and where we can improve. We welcome and encourage your feedback.

Why is your feedback important?


It is important for us to understand your experience of dealing with Dumfries and Galloway Council.  If we are doing something well, we want to build on that.  If there is an area where we could do better, we want to learn from your experience and improve how we deliver our services.  Your feedback helps us to understand what you think about the service you have received.

You can pdf icon download a copy of our complaints procedure [192kb] which contains a copy of the information on this web page for your reference. You can also pdf icon download the full version of our Council's Complaint Handling Procedure [534kb] for further information.

Woman on Phone

Comments


A comment might be some brief feedback about how we have handled a situation or delivered a service.  It is often best to pass a comment straight to the service it relates to so that they can take any necessary action.  You may be suggesting an improvement to what they do or a change to how they operate.

If you don't want to tell the service directly, you can complete our online form. Alternatively, you can pdf icon print out a form [67kb] and return using the freepost address.

Compliments

It is important for us to know when we are getting it right.  If you have positive feedback about a service or staff member, it is useful for us to know.

To give us positive feedback, you can tell the service directly or complete the online form. Alternatively, you can pdf icon print out a form [67kb] and return using the freepost address.

Man on the phone

Complaints


A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction about the council's action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by us or on our behalf. For example:

  • Delays or failures in responding to enquiries and requests.
  • Failure to provide a service.
  • Failure to meet our service standards.
  • Refusal to give advice or answer questions.
  • Our failure to follow Council policy. Complaints about the policies themselves should be directed to the complainant's local Councillor rather than the complaints procedure as these are committee decisions.
  • Treatment by, or attitude of, a member of staff or a contractor.
  • Failure to follow the proper administrative process.

Where possible, we try to resolve a complaint at the first point of contact.  That means that the service you are complaining about will try to put things right first.  So the first step is usually to speak to someone who has been involved with your enquiry or a manager in that service.

If you are unhappy with their response or if you do not want to complain directly to the service you can:

There are some matters that we cant deal with under the complaints handling procedure. For example, a complaint is not:

  • a first request for a service for example a first-time request for a road repair i.e. pothole, request for gritting or action on anti social behaviour. These requests should be directed to the relevant service.
  • a request for information or an explanation of policy or practice
  • a request under the Freedom of Information Act or Data Protection Act.
  • where a statutory right of appeal exists (e.g. parking tickets or housing benefit)
  • any service where you can use other methods to appeal for example:
    - If you are dissatisfied with the level of priority you have been given when applying for a house, you have the right to appeal against the decision.
    - 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 and  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 to the Assessor.
    - Exclusions from school or pupil placements.
  • insurance claims or claims for compensation
  • a complaint we have already investigated and given a final decision on
  • complaints that are in court or have already been heard by a court or a tribunal 
  • Complaints against Councillors, which have to be made in writing to The Standards Commission for Scotland.
  • Normally, you must make your complaint within 6 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 the time limit should not apply to you please tell us why when you submit your complaint.
  • Complaints against the Police, which have to be made direct to Police Scotland's Professional Standards Department.
  • Complaints about Community Council's which have to be made direct to the relevant Community Council.
  • Staff disciplinary matters or matters which may involve an offence. These will be dealt with under separate procedures in place through the Council's staff management processes.

What happens next?


What happens when I have complained?
We will always tell you who is dealing with your complaint and within what timescale you can expect a response.

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 1 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 2. You may choose to do this immediately or sometime after you get our initial decision.

Stage two - investigation

Stage 2 deals with two types of complaint: those that have not been resolved at Stage 1 and those that are complex and require detailed investigation.

When using Stage 2 we will:

  • acknowledge receipt of your complaint within three working days
  • discuss your complaint with 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.


Social Work Complaints
 

If your complaint is about Social Work Services and the service you receive from them, there is an additional stage in the complaints procedure which you are legally entitled to. This third stage, for Social Work service users, involves an independent 'Complaints Review Panel' reviewing the points of complaint that have not been fully upheld.

You will be provided with further details of this stage of the complaints procedure, including what it involves, in your Stage 2 response letter.

Elderly couple on laptop

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 to look at it.

The SPSO cannot normally look at:

  • a complaint that has not completed our complaints procedure (so please make sure it has done so before contacting the SPSO)
  • events that happened, or that you became aware of, more than a year ago
  • a matter that has been or is being considered in court.

You can contact the SPSO:

In PersonBy Post
SPSO
4 Melville Street
Edinburgh
EH3 7NS
SPSO
Freepost EH641
Edinburgh
EH3 0BR

Freephone: 0800 377 7330
Online contact: www.spso.org.uk/contact-us
Website: www.spso.org.uk
Mobile site: http://m.spso.org.uk

Care Complaints


If your complaint relates to a care service we provide, you can choose whether to complain to us or complain to the Care Inspectorate. You can find out more about their complaints procedure, or make a complaint, by contacting them:

Telephone:  0845 600 9527
Fax:  01382 207 289
Online:  Find out about making a complaint to the Care Commission
Email: enquiries@careinspectorate.com

If you would like any help, support or advice regarding Dumfries and Galloway Council's complaints procedure, please do not hesitate to contact the Information Management and Complaints Unit at commentsandcomplaints@dumgal.gov.uk or on 030 33 33 3000.

Complaints about the Police


Complaints about a police officer, member of police staff or special constable should be directed to Police Scotland's Professional Standards Department.

Complaints and Professional Standards Unit
Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary
Police Headquarters
Cornwall Mount
Dumfries
DG1 1PZ

Tel: 01387 242205 or send an email to CPSU@dg.pnn.police.uk

If you are not happy with the way the Police have handled your complaint you should contact the Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland

Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland
Hamilton House
Hamilton Business Park
Caird Park
Hamilton
ML3 0QA

Freephone: 0808 178 5577
Fax: 01698 542 901
E-mail: enquiries@pcc-scotland.org

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.

Before we discuss your complaint with them we may ask that you complete a 'mandate' which is a form giving written permission for us to discuss your personal information with another person.

You may also be able to get free, confidential advice and support from:

Your local CouncillorMSP or MP can also make enquiries on your behalf.

You can find out about more information about advocates in your area by contacting the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance:

Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance

Tel: 0131 260 5380 Fax: 0131 260 5381 Website: www.siaa.org.uk

We are committed to making our service easy to use for all members of the community. In line with our statutory equalities duties, we will always ensure that reasonable adjustments are made to help customers access and use our services. If you have trouble putting your complaint in writing, or want this information in another language or format, such as large font, or Braille, please tell us in person, contact the Information Management and Complaints Unit on 030 33 33 3000 or email us at complaints@dumgal.gov.uk

Continuous Improvement


As well as trying to continuously improve the services we provide as a Council, we are also committed to improving how we gather and manage feedback.  As part of this commitment, we work closely with the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) to ensure that our complaints handling procedures remain in line with their standards and recommendations.

The way that public services handle complaints is currently under review by the SPSO and a programme of change is in progress.  To learn more about the planned changes, please visit http://www.valuingcomplaints.org.uk

Related Information

Contact Details

 

Comments, Compliments and Complaints

Freepost RTHK-RAGT-KTHT
Information Management and Complaints Unit
118 English Street
Dumfries
DG1 2DE

Tel: 030 33 33 3000
Email this contact

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

4 Melville Street
Edinburgh
EH3 7NS

Tel: 0800 377 7330
Fax: 0800 377 7331
Web: Visit website

Contact Dumfries and Galloway Council T: 030 33 33 3000

Council Offices
English Street
Dumfries
DG1 2DD

Comments, Compliments and Complaints