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.
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.
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
The new policy and approach comes into effect from Tuesday 16 March 2021 and any complaints received prior to that will be dealt with under our previous one-stage policy.
Somerset West and Taunton Council now 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
This is an independent, impartial and free service that investigates individual complaints about councils. See the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman website for more details.
Complaints about the council in its role as a social landlord, and its responsibilities for leasehold housing, are dealt with according to the law.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of your complaint you can refer the issue to your local councillor or MP. You can choose to wait 8 weeks. After this after you can go to the Housing Ombudsman direct.
When your councillor or MP gets your complaint they can:
- help resolve your complaint
- refer the complaint to the Housing Ombudsman before the 8 week time limit
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