Complaints procedure

View or download the Complaints procedure leaflet

Stirling Council is committed to providing quality services that reflect the needs of our customers.

We value complaints and use this information to help us improve our services.

If something goes wrong or you are dissatisfied with our services, please tell us.  

Complaints

We regard a complaint as any expression of dissatisfaction about our action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by us or on our behalf.

What you can complain about.

You can complain about things like:

  • delays in responding to your enquiries and requests
  • failure to provide a service
  • our standard of service
  • Council policy
  • treatment by or attitude of a member of staff
  • our failure to follow proper procedure.

Your complaint may involve more than one Council service or be about someone working on our behalf.

What you can’t complain about.

There are some things we can’t deal with through our complaints handling procedure.

These include:

>
  • a routine first-time request for a service, for example a first-time request for a housing repair or action on antisocial behaviour
  • requests for compensation from the Council
  • things that are covered by a right of appeal. 

Here are some examples:

  • 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 have a right of appeal to Scottish Ministers within 6months of the decision.
  • If you believe your house is incorrectly valued for council tax, you can appeal to the Assessor.

If other procedures or rights of appeal can help you resolve your concerns, we will give information and advice to help you.

Services provided on the council’s behalf

Your complaint may be about a service being provided on behalf of the council.

Active Stirling has adopted the Council’s2-stage complaints handling process and so if you wish to make

a complaint, compliment or suggestion to them, you can expect their process and response times to be the same as Stirling Council’s.

In the first instance, you should direct any complaints about Active Stirling  by emailing Active Stirling or phone 03000280101, alternatively complete a comment card when in The PEAK. 

Who can complain?

Anyone can make a complaint to us, including the representative of someone who is dissatisfied with our service. 

How to complain

You can complain in any of the following ways:

  • Fax: 01786 44 3189
  • Text: 07717 990 001
  • Email Us
  • Post: Stirling Council, Chief Executive’s Service, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 

We will try to deal with your complaint as quickly as possible. 

When complaining, please tell us:

  • your full name, address, phone number and/or email address
  • as much detail as possible about the complaint
  • what has gone wrong and what you would like us to do to put it right 

How long do I have to make a complaint?

  • 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 that the time limit should not apply to your complaint, please tell us why.

What happens when I have complained? 

We will always tell you who is dealing with your complaint and when you should expect to receive a reply. 

Our complaints procedure has two stages:

Stage 1 – front line 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 1in 5 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 some time 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 3 working days
  • where appropriate, discuss your complaint with you 
  • 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.

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 (SPSO) 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:

Postal contact (no stamp required): Freepost SPSO

Freephone: 0800 377 7330 

Online contact: www.spso.org.uk/contact-us 

Website: www.spso.org.uk

Social Services complaints

The procedure for social services complaints is slightly different from our general complaints procedure, as it follows specific legislation and guidance. This legislation and guidance is being reviewed by the Scottish Government. In due course, SPSO will inform us about any changes to the procedure.

Social Services complaints are responded to within a separate statutory procedure, which is implemented across all Local Authorities in Scotland. If you wish to make a complaint about a service you are receiving or think you should be receiving you should speak with the person you are in contact with or their manager.Alternatively you can contact the Complaints Officer, who will assist you in making a complaint. Telephone 01786 443231 or 01786 233890.

There is a leaflet about making a complaint and this is available at Social Services’ service points or can be sent to you.

For care services provided by, or on behalf of Stirling Council and where these are registered care services with the Care Inspectorate, you have an option of referring your complaint to the Care Inspectorate. 

Care complaints

If your complaint relates to a care service we provide, you can choose whether to complain to us or the

Care Inspectorate. You can find out more about their complaints procedure, or make a complaint,by contacting them.

The Care Inspectorate has several offices around Scotland.

Please refer to: http://www.scswis.com/ 

Or

Telephone 0845 600 9527

Fax 01382 207 289

Email enquiries@careinspectorate.com 

Education complaints

Education Services complaints should be referred to the school in the first instance. If the complaint is not resolved at school level it can be escalated to a stage 2 complaint by contacting the Head of Education on 01786 442680. 

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, tell us in person,contact us on 0845 277 7000, www.siaa.org.uk

Equal Opportunities

Stirling Council is committed to ensuring that no one is discriminated against on grounds of

  • age,
  • disability,
  • gender reassignment,
  • pregnancy and maternity,
  • race,
  • religion or belief,
  • sex,
  • sexual orientation
  • or for any other reason.

If you think you have been treated less favourably, please make this clear in your complaint.

Complaints to SPSO about Stirling Council - Statistics 2011/12

Further information…