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  4. Comments and complaints

Comments and complaints

We want to provide our customers with the best possible service. To help us improve and enhance our services we would like you to share your views and experiences with us.

Let us know

We would love for you to let us know about something we have done well or if you have a suggestion. You can also give us a call or let us know in person at one of our offices.

Make a comment

If you decide to come into our offices to make a complaint in person, we will accept this and pass it to the relevant service area. We will not ask you to put it in writing. 

We also want to make it as easy as possible for you to let us know when things have gone right or wrong. Contact us if you need this information in a different format, for example in a different language, large print or braille.

If things do go wrong

If something does go wrong we need you to tell us about it when it happens. We learn from our mistakes and want to put things right quickly. So when you tell us what went wrong we’ll ask you to tell us how we can put things right too.

You can also make a complaint by:

  • Let us know by clicking the Make a complaint button below
  • emailing customer.feedback@westoxon.gov.uk
  • calling 01993 8610000
  • visiting us in person and speak to any member of the team
  • letting your local Councillor know
  • writing to us at: West Oxfordshire District Council, Council Offices, Witney OX28 1NB
  • Using any of our social media channels

Exemptions from this complaints process

There are certain matters that cannot be considered within this complaints procedure, this includes:

  • where an appeals procedure already exists for example Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support or planning appeals
  • where the complainant is challenging a planning judgement or decision not to take enforcement action
  • where the complaint is challenging a licensing or other quasi-judicial decision, where legal rights of challenge exist e.g. via appeal to the magistrates court
  • allegations of misconduct or complaints made by staff under our Grievance Procedure
  • complaints regarding the handling of Freedom of Information requests
  • complaints regarding Data Protection
  • complaints about the conduct of elected members
  • a service failure, for example, a missed bin
  • Where the matter that you are complaining about happened more than 12 months
    ago

What happens next

Initial Validation

Within two working days of receipt we will acknowledge your complaint and advise you whether or not it falls within the scope of the complaints process. Where it is accepted as a valid complaint it will then move onto stage 1.

If we determine that your complaint falls outside the scope of our process we will notify you of this in writing setting out the reasons why we have made this decision.

Stage 1: Service Area Response

A review of your complaint will be undertaken by an operational manager within the service area to which your complaint relates. A response will be provided within 10 working days from the date that we advised you that your complaint was valid.

If for any reason we are unable to provide a response within 10 working days we will advise you of this in writing, setting out when a response will be available.

Stage 2: Independent Review

If after receiving a stage 1 response you remain dissatisfied you can escalate your complaint to stage 2 of our process.

Requests to escalate your complaint must be made in writing by emailing customer.feedback@westoxon.gov.uk with 14 days of the date of the stage 1 response, setting out the reasons why you believe the stage 1 response has failed to adequately address your complaint.

Upon receipt of your requests an investigation into your complaint will be undertaken by a member of the Corporate Responsibility Team who will be independent of the service area to which your complaint relates. If your complaint relates in any way to the Corporate Responsibility Team it will be allocated to another service area to review.

A response will be provided within 10 working days from receipt of your request to escalate your complaint to stage 2. If for any reason we are unable to provide a response within 10 working days we will advise you of this in writing, setting out when a response will be available.

Stage 3: Appeal

If you are not satisfied with the decision issued at stage 2 you can appeal our decision. Appeals must be made in writing by emailing customer.feedback@westoxon.gov.uk within 21 days of the date of our stage 2 response clearly stating the grounds on which they are made.

Appeals will be considered by one of our Business Managers who will be independent of the service area you are complaining about.

A response will be provided within 15 working days of receipt fo your appeal. If for any reason we are unable to provide a response within 15 working days we will advise you of this in writing, setting out when a response will be available.

Local Government Ombudsman

Once you have exhausted our complaints process, if you believe that we have not resolved the matter, you can refer your complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman.