Complaints Procedure

We are sorry if we have not met your expectations. We strive to provide a high-quality service at all times. If you would like to informally talk through your issue, then please visit our office, email us, or telephone us on 01304 242625. If this does not resolve your issue and you would like to make a formal complaint, see below for how to do this.

Dover Town Council operates according to law, statutory regulation and best practice.

• Policy matters are decided by Council at meetings open to the public. There are opportunities for members of the public to address meetings of the Council formally in addition to other informal opportunities to make their views known to Councillors.

• Council officers are responsible in law for advising the Council, and taking action on the decisions of the Council. Officers have no part in the decision making process.

• The Council acts in an open and transparent manner. Independent external and internal auditors report publicly concerning the Council. Information is also available as set out in law including under the Freedom of Information Act.

• The Council has a formal complaints procedure. The standard of evidence is high as such evidence may need to be presented at a Court of Law. Hearsay, rumour and opinion is not admissible. Attempts to misuse the Council’s complaints procedure to pursue a personal agenda will not be tolerated.

• The Council welcomes constructive contributions from members of the public concerning policy issues and matters of concern to the Town. Complaints and criticism concerning Town Council policies and action should relate only to the policy issues and actions themselves. Attempts to undermine the local democratic process by the publication of allegations and information which may be selective and inaccurate concerning the personal and private lives of Councillors and Officers is wholly condemned.

• Council officers are employees of the Council and have not chosen to enter public life. The Council takes seriously its duty of care towards them as an employer. The Council recognises that unwarranted criticism and intrusion into their private lives through any media may be considered bullying and will not be tolerated.

 

How to Raise a Formal Complaint

Step 1

Please contact the member of staff or department who provided the service. Explain what has happened and let them know what you would like the Council to do to put things right. We will try to resolve your complaint at this stage.

Should the complaint concern a specific officer or councillor your name, contact details and details of the complaint, and any evidence, will be given to them to enable them to fully answer the concerns.

Staff Areas of Responsibility

Submitting Your Complaint

You can submit details of your formal complaint by:

If raising a complaint by post or email, you must supply your name, address and either a telephone or e-mail address where you can be contacted.

An acknowledgement of receipt of your complaint will be sent within 7 working days and a reply to your complaint within 20 working days.

Step 2

If you do not accept this response to your complaint in Step 2, you can ask the Town Clerk to review your complaint.

Step 3

If you are not satisfied with the response from the Town Clerk, you can ask for your complaint to be reviewed by the Mayor who may appoint a Panel of up to 3 Councillors to assist if appropriate. The Councillors will not have previously been involved in your complaint. You will have an opportunity to see and comment on the report written by the Town Clerk about your complaint before it goes to the Panel.

If, the complaint concerns a member of staff, the Mayor or Panel will offer both you and the member of staff an opportunity for interview, prior to making a decision.

If the complaint concerns the Town Clerk, then the Responsible Financial Officer will manage the process and liaise between you and the Mayor. In the case of the complaint concerning the Town Clerk, then the complaint should still follow Steps 1 and 2, giving the Town Clerk two opportunities to resolve the issue before progressing to Step 3.

Some disputes may need to be handled outside of our complaints procedure.

For example:

If you wish to disagree with a decision of the Council or one of its committees, where legal proceedings are involved or where you have made a claim for compensation which we refer to our insurers. In this case the Town Clerk will seek legal advice before advising you of the process.

 

If you have any questions about this process, please contact us.