Make a complaint
Make a complaint and find out about our complaints procedure.
Before you start
If you would like to report an issue, make a request or an appeal, we don't log this as a complaint.
Please visit our report it section instead. This is often the quickest way to get your issue resolved.
What is a complaint?
We define a complaint as any 'expression of dissatisfaction' about the way in which we have provided a service for example:
- failure to provide a service
- staff behaviour
A service request
A service request is a request for the Council’s assistance with an issue or problem faced by a customer in an area falling within the Council’s responsibility. We encourage all Council staff to work with customers to resolve any service issues as service requests in the first instance. This normally enables a quicker resolution than the Council’s formal complaints process.
For example, if you report a missed bin, we will treat this as a service request, not a complaint.
We will then investigate and either:
- collect the bin within 48 hours
- let you know why it wasn't collected
If you've reported a missed bin and we've failed to collect it 3 times within the last 3 months after telling you we would do so, we'd normally treat that as an official complaint.
How to make a complaint
The quickest and easiest way to make a complaint and stay up to date with its progress, is online.
You will need to register your details and create an account with us.
We aim to acknowledge your complaint within three working days. The relevant department will investigate your complaint and respond within 15 working days.
Other ways to complain
You can also submit a complaint in writing to:
Mount Pleasant Road
Royal Tunbridge Wells
Kent TN1 1RS
Please note we will register your details and create an account on your behalf. You can view our complaints privacy notice.
The Council may, with the agreement of the customer, resolve any formal complaint as a service request.
- You submit your complaint.
- We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within three working days. This is to let you know that we've read it and to let you know who is investigating your complaint.
- Your complaint will be investigated by the relevant Head of Service.
- We will respond to your complaint within 15 working days from the date of acknowledgement. This is our official response to your complaint. If your complaint is more complex and we need more time to investigate we will let you know.
- If you are unhappy with the response to your complaint at stage one you can complain to the Chief Executive by escalating it to stage two.
If the service hasn’t managed to resolve your complaint satisfactorily at stage one, you can then contact our Performance and Governance team.
- You tell us why you want to take the complaint further. Please note that we'll only consider new information and won't respond to the same things we've already responded to at stage one. Please be sure to include all information which is materially significant in your explanation. Failure may mean that we cannot take such information into account when answering your Stage 2 complaint.
- We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within three working days.
- Your complaint will be investigated by the Performance and Governance team and reviewed by the Chief Executive (or one of his directors).
- We will look at what went wrong and why the service wasn’t able to resolve your complaint.
- The Chief Executive (or one of his directors) will respond to your complaint within 20 working days from the date of acknowledgement. If your complaint is more complex and we need more time to investigate we will let you know.
What happens next?
If you have been through stage one and stage two and we haven’t managed to resolve your complaint, you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman.
These complaints are treated differently. For advice and information relating to complaints about councillors please visit our councillor code of conduct page.
If you are unhappy with the way in which we have dealt with your request or disagree with the decision, you can request a review by the Council’s Monitoring Officer (which is separate from our complaints procedure).
We will respond within 20 working days and if you remain dissatisfied you can contact the Information Commissioner’s office:
Telephone: 0303 123 1113