Complaints Procedure

Longfield & New Barn Parish Council Complaints Procedure

  1. This Policy sets out procedures for dealing with any complaints that anyone may have about the Longfield & New Barn Parish Council’s administration and procedures. It applies to the Council employees and Clerk. Councillors are covered by a Code of Conduct as may be adopted by the Council at the time. Complaints against policy decisions made by the Council shall be referred back to Council (but note paragraph 8 (a) and 8 (b) of the Council’s Standing Orders which says that issues shall not be re-opened for six months).
  2. If a complaint about procedures or administration as practised by the Council’s employees is notified orally to a Councillor or the Clerk to the Council, they should seek to satisfy the complaint fully. If that fails, the complainant should be asked to put the complaint in writing to the Clerk to the Council and be assured that it will be dealt with promptly after receipt.
  3. If the complainant prefers not to put the complaint to the Clerk to the Council, he or she should be advised to put it to the Chairman of the Council.
  4. (a) On receipt of a written complaint the Chairman of the Council or the Clerk to the Council (except where the complaint is about his/her own actions) shall try to settle the complaint directly with the complainant. This shall not be done without first notifying the person complained against and giving him or her an opportunity to comment. Efforts should be made to settle the complaint as this stage. (b) Where the Clerk to the Council or the Chairman of the Council receives a written complaint about the Clerk to the Council’s own actions, he or she shall refer the complaint to the Chairman of the Council. The Clerk to the Council shall be notified and given the opportunity to comment.
  5. The Clerk to the Council or Chairman of the Council shall report to the next meeting of the Council any written complaint disposed of by direct action with the complainant.
  6. The Clerk to the Council or Chairman of the Council shall bring any written complaint that has not been settled to the next meeting of the Council. The Clerk to the Council shall notify the complainant of the date on which the complaint will be considered and the complainant shall be offered an opportunity to explain the complaint orally. (Unless such a matter may be related to Grievance, Disciplinary or Standard Board proceedings that are taking, or likely to take place when such a hearing may prejudice those hearings when the complaint will have to be heard under Exempt Business to exclude any member of the public or the press, or deferred on appropriate advice received).
  7. The Council shall consider whether the circumstances attending any complaint warrant the matter being discussed in the absence of the press and public, but any decision on a complaint shall be announced at the Council meeting in public.
  8. As soon as possible after the decision has been made, it and the nature of any action to be taken shall be communicated in writing to the complainant.
  9. The Parish Council shall defer dealing with any written complaint only if it is of the opinion that issues of law or practice arise on which advice is necessary. The complaint shall be dealt with at the next meeting after advice has been received.