Complaint Procedure

COMPLAINTS POLICY

Complaints about an employee of the Council should be dealt with as an employment matter.  The complainant can be assured that the matter will be dealt with internally as such and appropriate action taken as required.

Complaints about a Councillor should be put in writing to the Town Clerk for the matter to be considered by the Council's Executive Steering Group. The Monitoring Officer for Central Bedfordshire Council may take the matter futher if necessary.

Complaints concerning local administration should be dealt with in an open and transparent manner so that all complainants feel that their grievance has been dealt with properly and given full consideration.

The following process is designed for those situations that cannot be satisfied by less formal measures or where explanations provided to the complainant by the Clerk fail to satisfy them.

1.    The complainant should be asked to put the complaint about the Council’s procedures or administration in writing to the Clerk.

2.    If the complainant does not wish to put the complaint to the Clerk, they may be advised to put it to the Town Mayor.

3.    The Clerk shall acknowledge the receipt of the complaint and advise the complainant when the matter will be considered by the Council or by the Committee established for the purposes of hearing complaints.

4.    The complainant shall be invited to attend the relevant meeting and bring with them such representative as they wish.

5.    Seven clear working days before the meeting, the complainant shall provide the Council with copies of any documentation or other evidence, which they wish to refer to at the meeting.  The Council shall similarly provide the complainant with copies of any documentation upon which they wish to rely at the meeting.

Procedure at Council or Committee Meeting

1.    The Council shall consider whether the circumstances of the meeting warrant the exclusion of the press and public.  Any decision on a complaint shall be announced at the Council meeting in public.

2.    The Chairman introduces all present

3.    The Chairman explains the procedure

4.    The complainant or their representative outlines the grounds of the complaint

5.    Members can ask any question of the complainant or their representative

6.    If relevant, the Clerk or other Officer explains the Council’s position

7.    Members can ask any question of the Clerk or other Officer

8.    The Clerk or other Officer and the complainant are offered the opportunity of a last word (in this order)

9.    The Clerk and the complainant are to be asked to leave the room while members decide whether or not the grounds for the complaint have been made.  If a point of clarification is necessary, both parties are to be invited back.

10.    The Clerk and the complainant return to hear the decision, or to be advised when the decision will be made

11.    The Council can defer making a decision on a complaint if it needs to wait for legal advice or further information

12.    The decision is to be confirmed in writing within seven days together with details of any action to be taken. 

May 2016