Everleigh Parish Council – Complaints Procedure November 2017

EVERLEIGH PARISH COUNCIL – COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

1. The following procedure will be adopted for dealing with complaints about the Council’s administration or its procedures.  Complaints about a policy decision made by the Council  will be referred back to the Council, or relevant Committee, as appropriate, for consideration.

2. This Complaints Procedure does not apply to:

(a)  Complaints by one council employee against another council employee, or between a   council employee and the council as employer.  These matters are dealt with under the council’s disciplinary and grievance procedures.

(b)  The conduct of a Member of the Parish Council.  Complaints against Councillors which are covered by the Code of Conduct for Members adopted by the council.  Any complaint that a Councillor may have breached the Council’s adopted code of conduct should be referred to the Monitoring Officer at Wiltshire County Council.

(c)   Complaints raised to a Councillor about the conduct or actions of resident(s) which should be passed to the Clerk for forwarding to the resident(s) or the appropriate authority.

3. If a complaint about procedures, administration or the actions of any of the Council’s employees is notified orally to a Councillor, or to the Clerk to the Council, a written record of the complaint will be made, noting the name and contact details of the complainant and the nature of the complaint.

4. The complainant will be asked to put the complaint in writing (letter/e-mail/standard form) to the Clerk to the Council at 10 Foxtail Gardens Ludgershall, SP 11 9TB.  The  complaint will be dealt with within 21 days of receipt.  Refusal to put the complaint in writing does not necessarily mean that the complaint cannot be investigated, but it is easier to deal with if it is in writing.

5. If the complainant prefers not to put the complaint to the Clerk to the Council (because the matter relates to the Clerk, for example,) he or she should be advised to write to the Chair.

6. Receipt of Complaint.

(a)   On receipt of a written complaint, the Clerk to the Council (except where the    complainant is about his or her own actions) or Chair of Council (if the complaint  relates to the Clerk), will seek to settle the complaint directly with the complainant.

This will not be done without first notifying any person complained about and giving him  or her an opportunity to comment.  Efforts should be made to resolve the complaint at this stage.

(b)  Where the Clerk to the Council or a Councillor receives a written complaint about  the Clerk’s actions, he or she shall refer the complaint to the Chair of Council.  The Clerk to the Council will be formally advised of the matter and given an opportunity to comment.

7. The Clerk to the Council (or Chair) will report any complaint disposed of by direct action  with the complainant to the next meeting of the Council.

8. The Clerk to the Council (or Chair) will report any complaint that has not been resolved to the next meeting of the Council.  The Clerk will notify the complainant of the date on which the complaint will be considered and the complainant will be offered an opportunity to explain the complaint to the Council orally.

9. Matters relating to Grievance or Disciplinary proceedings that are taking, or are likely to take place, should be dealt with in accordance with the Council’s grievance and disciplinary procedures.

10. The Council may consider whether the circumstances of any complaint warrant the matter being discussed in the absence of the press and public, but any decision on the complaint will be announced at the Council meeting in public.

11. The Council may consider in the circumstances of any particular complaint whether to make any without liability payment or provide other reasonable benefit to any person who has suffered loss as a result of the Council’s maladministration.  Any payment may only be authorised by the Council after obtaining legal advice and advice from the Council’s auditor on the propriety of such a payment.

12. As soon as possible after the decision has been made (and in any event not later than 10 days after the meeting) the complainant will be notified in writing of the decision and any action to be taken.

13. The Council may defer dealing with any complaint if it is of the opinion that issues arise on which further advice is necessary.  The advice will be considered and the complaint dealt with at the next meeting after the advice has been received.