Why Complain - will it make a difference?
We are always looking for ways of improving the quality of our services. Your comments help us to do this. We also want to know when something has gone wrong with a service so we can put it right.
What is a Complaint?
A complaint is defined as "an expression of dissatisfaction about the conduct, standard of service, actions or lack of action by the New Forest District Council or its staff".
Sometimes the issue is a request for a service rather than a complaint. This can include missed refuse collection, pest control requests or problems with neighbours. There are also services that are not carried out by the District Council such as the maintenance of roads, paths and street lighting. Please see the link "Requests For Service And Other Agencies" for more details on who to contact.
What should I do if I have a complaint against the Council?
Get in touch as soon as you can. Your first step should be to speak to the manager of the service involved and explain what the problem is. If you do not know who the manager is, all employees will do their best to put you in touch with the right person. Managers will do all they can to resolve problems straight away. If this is not possible they will let you know. We aim to send a reply within 15 working days unless you are otherwise informed.
Do I have to complain in writing?
No, you can use a variety of methods. You can call into any Council building such as our information offices, health and leisure centres or visitor information centres where you can either verbally leave your complaint or collect one of the Council's complaints forms. You can find the addresses of all the Council's buildings on the link below. You can call the Complaints office on 023 8028 5588, email complaints, or fill in the Online Complaint Form now .
You may also ask someone to act on your behalf. This could be a friend or family, an agent, solicitor or even your local Councillor or MP.
What if I am not satisfied with the outcome?
Contact the Head of the Service. Your complaint will be thoroughly investigated and the result will be sent to you within 15 working days.
What if my complaint is still not resolved?
In most cases your complaint will be resolved to your satisfaction promptly and courteously by the Manager or the Head of Service. If it is not, write to the Head of Legal and Democratic Services, at Appletree Court, Lyndhurst, who will look into your complaint on behalf of the Chief Executive.
Still not satisfied? - Contact an Ombudsman
If you remain dissatisfied after you have gone through the Council's complaints procedure:
For matters other than Council Housing:
Contact the Local Government Ombudsman who acts as a watchdog for local government issues.
For Council Housing matters:
You have the right to ask for your complaint to be considered by a "designated person". In relation to New Forest District Council housing complaints, a "designated person" is a local Member of Parliament or a New Forest District Councillor. The "designated person" may try to resolve your complaint or they can refer the matter to the Housing Ombudsman. The Housing Ombudsman service is an independent body set up to provide a free and fair way of dealing with complaints against housing organisations.
If you do not want your complaint to be considered by a designated person, you may contact the Housing Ombudsman yourself, but you may do this only 8 weeks after you have been through the Council's complaints procedure.