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Complaints, suggestions and compliments
We aim to provide excellent service to all of our customers. If we get something wrong, we want to try to put it right quickly and learn from the mistake to help improve services in the future.
You can also tell us when we’ve done things well and given you excellent customer service. We’re also keen to have your suggestions on how we can improve. Use the online form to tell us about a complaint, suggestion or compliment.
All complaints will be dealt with in line with our complaints policy. Copies of the policy in alternative formats can be provided upon request using our general enquiry form or by contacting our Customer Service team on 0300 304 8000.
What is a corporate complaint?
We define a complaint as an expression of dissatisfaction with the service we have provided including:
- Failing to deliver a service
- A delay in providing a service
- The behaviour of a member of our staff
In order to allow us to investigate complaints fully, put things right and learn from our mistakes we ask that you provide specific details including:
- What has gone wrong, giving as much detail as possible to enable us to understand the situation better
- How it has affected you
- What you would like us to do to put it right
Complaints should be made as soon as possible after the incident as it is easier to gather information at the time and to avoid a repetition of any mistake.
We will always consider complaint submissions against our complaints policy and will only refuse to process a complaint if there is a justifiable reason to do so. We will always explain the reason for refusal in our response to the complainant and advise them in relation to the appropriate method for raising their concerns.
What is not investigated under our complaints policy?
There are some complaints that are not investigated under our complaints policy as they are not about our services, this includes:
- Complaints about highways (roads/roadworks/potholes), transport, social care, education. Please direct any complaints concerning these areas to Somerset County Council
- Complaints about businesses. If you have a complaint about a business you may wish to look at their own complaints policy. We do investigate some complaints about businesses including complaints about a licensed person, vehicle or premises or food safety
- Complaints about individuals. Our complaints process only investigates complaints about our members of staff however you can report a noise, smoke or other nuisance or antisocial behaviour in a council property to us. We can also investigate breaches of planning through our Planning Enforcement process
- Complaints about our partnership organisations including Somerset Waste Partnership and Somerset Building Control. These complaints are referred to them and dealt with in line with their own complaints policies and procedures
Somerset West and Taunton Council operates a two stage complaints process.
Your complaint will be reviewed by an appropriate member of staff within the service area your complaint relates to and a full written response will be provided within 10 working days. If it is not possible for us to respond within this timeframe we will let you know as soon as possible.
If you are not satisfied with the response you have received then you will have the right to request a review.
If you request a review of your complaint it will be undertaken by an officer at a higher level who was not involved during the first stage. A further written response will be provided within 20 working days.
Once the review response has been provided our complaints procedure has been completed. At this point if you are not satisfied with our response you have the right to contact the relevant Ombudsman service who will consider your complaint.
Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman
Once you have received our final response you can ask the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (the Ombudsman) to review your complaint. You usually have up to 12 months to do this, starting from the date you first knew about the matter you complained about, not from the date of this letter. The Ombudsman will normally only consider complaints made within that time but can decide to look at older complaints if there is a good reason to do so.
The Ombudsman looks at individual complaints about councils, all adult social care providers and some other organisations providing local public services. It investigates matters fairly and impartially and is free to use.
There are some matters the Ombudsman cannot or will not investigate. In these cases it will explain clearly the reason for its decision.
The Ombudsman’s contact details are below. You will need to provide it with a copy of the final response letter, and any earlier responses to you, so it can consider your complaint.
More information can be found on the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman website.
Telephone: 0300 061 0614
Opening hours: Monday to Friday - 10am to 4pm (except public holidays)
Complaints about the Council in its role as a social landlord and its responsibilities for leasehold housing, are dealt with according to the law.
The Housing Ombudsman is on hand to provide residents with advice and support at any stage of the complaints process and can be contacted by either calling 0300 111 3000, by email email@example.com, or on their website via an online complaint form or by webchat. You do not have to wait until we have provided our final response at the Review stage of our Complaints Policy before contacting the Housing Ombudsman for advice, but please note they are unable to investigate your complaint until our Review response has been provided and our complaints process completed.
As a member of the Housing Ombudsman scheme, Somerset West and Taunton Council comply with The Housing Ombudsman's Complaint Handling Code which was last revised in April 2022. We regularly check our compliance with the Complaint Handling Code through the Housing Ombudsman's self-assessment process.
The Housing Ombudsman also publish annual landlord performance data on their website where you can read about any findings the Ombudsman have made against us as a landlord in the last twelve months.
We are committed to providing information on this in publications shared with our tenants such as newsletters, annual reports and the Tenant Strategic Group.
Third party consent
If they are able to, we would encourage the affected person to complain to us directly so that we may understand how they have been affected and respond to them directly with our findings. However, we do accept complaints submitted by an advocate or representative where written authority or consent is provided. You can use our Representative Consent form.
How you can help us
We understand it’s frustrating when we don’t meet your expectations. We’ll do everything we can to resolve your complaint to your satisfaction. In return, we ask that you:
- treat our staff with respect
- do not use abusive language or behaviour when dealing with us
- meet all reasonable requests we make when we try to address your concerns