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Customer Complaints Procedure
When you make an (informal) complaint this will be dealt with by a member of staff within the relevant service you have complained about. We hope to resolve your complaint at this stage but if this is not possible you can make a formal complaint. We will communicate with you by your preferred method such as by email, telephone or letter. Most informal complaints are dealt with via telephone or email.
The formal procedure has two stages. We hope to resolve most complaints at Stage 1. Sometimes complaints may be escalated to Stage 2 within our procedure, and you will always be advised of this so that you know the stage of your complaint and the reasoning for progressing it to a further stage.
Stage 1: You make a complaint to us.
When you make a complaint it will be dealt with by the Service Manager and Head of Service responsible for the service you are complaining about. Please also include details of how you feel the matter could be resolved.
We will acknowledge your complaint in writing, by email or by phone within 3 working days and aim to resolve and respond to your complaint within 10 working days.
Stage 2: We have investigated your complaint but you are not satisfied.
Please let us know within 10 working days of your stage 1 response (letter) that you are not happy with the response.
When requesting a stage 2 complaint investigation, you will be required to explain in detail in writing why you remain dissatisfied, and what your expectations are from a further review. At this stage your complaint will be dealt with by the Director of the Department responsible for the service you are complaining about. If your complaint relates to one of the Directors then it will be dealt with by the Chief Executive.
We will acknowledge your response within 3 working days and aim to resolve your complaint within 10 working days. In exceptional circumstances a short extension of time may be necessary due to unforeseen circumstances (such as the availability of a key staff member or the need to obtain further information). If an extension is required we will notify you of progress every 10 working days.
Role of the NI Public Services Ombudsman
If you are not satisfied with the Stage 2 response, you may then refer your complaint to the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman. For further details visit https://nipso.org.uk/nipso/
Managing Vexatious Complainants
It is important for relationship management that complaints are handled by both parties with mutual respect and understanding. In rare cases Council have found that complainants have acted in an inappropriate manner such as being abusive to staff or refusing to accept a Council response as factual. The Council recognises the definition of vexatious complainants as established by the NI Ombudsman for Public Services. The Council reserves the right to consider complaints against this definition and, if required, impose conditions on how a vexatious complainant must engage with the Council for the proper processing of their complaint. See below definition of what Council deem vexatious complainants.