Adopted: March 2020: Min No: 16/20/HR
Next Review: May 2023
Complaints about the council’s procedures or administration
This complaints procedure applies to complaints about the Council’s service, its administration and procedures. It might also be used to address a complaint about how the council has dealt with your concerns.
Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge Town Council is committed to providing and improving the quality of service for the benefit of the people who live and work in its area. If you are dissatisfied with the level of service you have received from this Council, or are unhappy about an action or lack of action by this Council, this Complaints Procedure sets out how you may complain to the Council and how we will try to resolve your complaint.
We hope that most complaints can be settled quickly and informally through contact with a councillor or member of staff. We will aim to put matters right or give you an explanation. If that isn’t possible or if that approach hasn’t worked for you, you should follow this complaints procedure.
We regret that we are usually unable to acknowledge or consider complaints that are submitted anonymously and you are therefore encouraged to supply your name and address in all correspondence.
We take all complaints seriously and do our best to learn from them. We will investigate complaints in a fair and confidential way. Making a complaint about us does not mean that in future you will be treated differently to any other resident.
How to complain:
All complaints will be addressed according to the following procedure:
- Your complaint will initially be dealt with by the town clerk or relevant senior officer who will acknowledge it within three working days. You may make this complaint in person, by phone, or in writing by post or by email. The addresses and numbers are set out below.
- The town clerk or officer will investigate your complaint and might ask for further information if necessary from you and/or from councillors or staff.
- The town clerk or officer will try to resolve your complaint within 15 working days.
- If the matter requires consideration at a committee meeting it might take up to 8 weeks before a full response can be given. You will be informed if this is the case.
Any correspondence from the Council relating to the complaint will usually be sent by email unless there has been an express agreement to use other means.
Complaints should be sent:
By email, marked for the attention of the town clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org
By post to:
Burnham on Sea & Highbridge Town Council
The Old Courthouse
Burnham on Sea TA8 1LE
Matters not dealt with under this complaints policy:
Complaints about a councillor: If you have a complaint about the actions of an individual councillor you should write to:
The Monitoring Officer,
Sedgemoor District Council,
Further information on the process of dealing with complaints against councillors may be obtained from the monitoring officer.
Complaint about a member of staff: Any complaints about staff, including the town clerk, will be dealt with under this Council’s disciplinary and grievance procedure. The Council will not, under any circumstances, enter into any correspondence or discussion about any action taken, formally or informally.
Complaints about staff should be sent to the town clerk and marked as confidential. Please be aware that individual councillors have no staff management responsibility and will redirect any complaints to the town clerk.
Complaints about the town clerk should be addressed to the Chairman of the Human Resources Committee.
Complaint about a service area outside our responsibility: We will re-direct you to the relevant authority.
Complaints about financial matters where you think we have acted illegally or improperly: Please contact our external auditor, PKF Littlejohn for more information visit www.pkflittlejohn.com or call 020 7516 2200
Complaints about information you have requested under the Freedom of Information Act or Data Protection Act: If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to information requested, we will in the first instance try to resolve it under this procedure. However, if you are dissatisfied you can contact the information commissioner. For more information, visit www.ico.org.uk or call 0303 1231113
Comments falling short of a formal complaint
The appropriate time for influencing Council decision-making is before the Council debates and votes on the matter.
You are encouraged to raise with any of the elected town councillors concerns or observations about the work of the Council. The contact details of all councillors, including your ward councillor, can be found on here.
You can write to the Council in advance of the meeting at which a matter is to be discussed, or register to speak in the public section of our council meetings. To register to speak, please email email@example.com or phone the town council office on 01278 788088.