Make a complaint

This guide explains how to complain about a council service, how we deal with complaints, and what to do if you're not happy with the outcome.

Tell us what you think

If you think there's something we're not getting right, we want to hear about it. We take your complaints very seriously, and we want to make the process for complaints as simple as we can.

How to complain

There are several ways to make a complaint


It should only take you a few minutes.

By phone

Call us on 01786 404040.

By post

Stirling Council
Corporate Complaints Team
14-20 Pitt Terrace
Stirling FK8 2ET

Some council service areas offer alternative ways to complain.

Who can complain?

Anyone can make a complaint to Stirling Council. You can complain on your own behalf or on behalf of someone else. If you complain on behalf of someone else, like a friend, relative or client, you’ll need their written consent.

We can help you too

If you’re having difficulty completing a form or putting your complaint into writing, get in touch with us. We’re happy to give you support and guidance.

Anonymous complaints

Sometimes, you might want to make a complaint without providing your personal details. That’s fine. We value all complaints, including anonymous ones, but they must be made in writing or use our online form. If you do decide to stay anonymous, we won’t be able to let you know what happened with your complaint.

Information we’ll ask for

To help us respond to your complaint we’ll ask you for:

  • your name and how you would like us to contact you
  • as much detail as possible about the complaint
  • what has gone wrong and what you would like us to do to put it right

Our complaints process

When you make a complaint, we’ll let you know we’ve received it, tell you who is dealing with it, and when you should expect a reply.

There are two stages in our process.

Stage 1: frontline resolution

We’ll get back to you in five working days or less. If it’s going to take longer, we’ll let you know and agree a new timescale with you.

We aim to resolve complaints close to where we provided the service. This could mean an on-the-spot apology and explanation when things have gone wrong, and immediate action to resolve the problem.

If we can't resolve your complaint at this stage, we’ll explain why and tell you what you can do next. We might suggest you escalate your complaint to Stage 2. You can do this immediately or at any time within the next six months.

Stage 2: investigation

This stage is for complaints that were not resolved at Stage 1 or are complex and need a detailed investigation.

This is what will happen:

  • we’ll acknowledge receipt of your complaint within three working days
  • we’ll get in touch with you to discuss your complaint further
  • we’ll give you a full written response as soon as possible and within 20 working days

If we think it will take longer than 20 working days, we’ll let you know, and keep you updated.

If you’re still not happy

If you’re unhappy with our Stage 2 response and decision or the way we dealt with your complaint, you can ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) for help.

The SPSO cannot normally look at:

  • a complaint that has not completed our two stage complaints procedures
  • an event that happened, or that you became aware of, more than a year ago
  • a matter that has been or is being considered in court
  • complaints from Community Councils – though they can complain on behalf of a member of the public with the person's written consent

You can contact the SPSO:

In person

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
Bridgeside House
99 McDonald Road

They’re open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 9am-5pm. Tuesday 10am-5pm.

By post

Freepost SPSO

This is all you need to write on the envelope, and you don't need a stamp.

By phone

Freephone 0800 377 7330 or call 0131 225 5300

Our complaints performance

Stirling Council has implemented the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman’s two-stage complaints process across all services. Our staff receive formal training and informal support on complaint handling and we publish complaint handling performance data in our quarterly basis report.

Our annual complaints report outlines the improvements we are making as a result of complaints and contains our yearly complaints performance.

Download the annual complaints report.

Alternative ways to complain

You can complain about any council service or activity using our two-stage process. In some areas, you can complain in other ways.

Social Work

For services that are registered with the Care Inspectorate, including any provided on our behalf by another agency, you can complain to the Care Inspectorate or the agency directly.

Clackmannanshire and Stirling Integration Joint Board

The Health & Social Care Partnership (HSCP) has its own complaints procedure which is similar to Stirling Councils. You can complain to either organisation.

HSPC complaints procedure

Schools, learning and education

If you prefer, you can raise your concerns directly with the school. This is called a Stage One complaint. They will give you a response within 5 days, in line with the Council's complaint handling process.

If you’re not happy with the response, you can contact the Interim Chief Education Officer, Schools, Learning and Education, who will appoint a senior officer to formally investigate your complaint.

There's more information in Communicating with Parents - Our Code.