This is our Corporate Complaints Policy.
When we receive your complaint, the complaints manager for the relevant department you are complaining about will ensure that your complaint is acknowledged within 3 working days and that you receive confirmation as to whether it will be investigated under this policy.
If required, the complaints manager may contact you or your representative in order to clarify the nature and / or details of your complaint.
Your complaint will be considered by an appropriate officer within the service your complaint relates to and we aim to provide a response within 20 working days (4 weeks). If we are unable to respond within this timescale, we will contact you to explain why and advise you as to when you can expect a response.
It should be possible for most complaints to be resolved at stage 1. However, it remains at the discretion of the complaints manager to escalate a complaint directly to stage 2 if they consider the situation requires it.
Inform the complaints manager if you're not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation into your complaint, or you're not happy with the way the investigating officer has dealt with your complaint. You should explain why you are unhappy and your desired outcome. This should be done within 25 days (5 weeks) of you receiving the Stage 1 response. We'd prefer you to put this in writing – if you need help, we can offer support such an interpreter, use of large print or access to an advocacy service.
If we are confident that we have followed policy, procedure and legislation and that you have not been unfairly disadvantaged, we will not progress your complaint to stage 2. We will instead advise you of your right to ask the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman to investigate your case.
If your complaint progresses to stage 2, either the complaints manager or a senior manager within the department (who has not previously been involved in the complaint) will consider your complaint.
We aim to respond within 25 working days (5 weeks). However, if the review is likely to take longer, we will contact you to explain why and will provide a response within a maximum of 65 working days (13 weeks).
Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman
If you're not satisfied with our response to your complaint, you can ask the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) to review your complaint.
You usually have up to 12 months to do this, starting from the date you first knew about the matter you complained about. The Ombudsman will normally consider complaints made within that time but can decide to look at older complaints if there is good reason.
The Ombudsman looks at individual complaints about councils, all adult care providers (including care homes and home care agencies) and some other organisations providing local public services. It investigates matters fairly and impartially and is free to use.
There are some matters the Ombudsman cannot or will not investigate. In these cases it will explain clearly the reason for its decision.
Contact the Ombudsman’s advice line
PO Box 4771
We can't consider your complaint if:
- your complaint relates to issues that occurred over 12 months ago, unless there's good reason why you were unable to make your complaint within the 12 month period. In such circumstances, the complaints manager will consider whether to exercise discretion to accept the matters being raised as a late complaint
- your complaint relates to matters that have not affected you personally or caused you an injustice
- you make your complaint anonymously
- your complaint relates to general policies of the council. You can discuss these with your local county councillor
- your complaint falls within the scope of legal processes, other procedures or appeals (such as school place appeals or Special Education Needs Tribunal)
- you are seeking payment for alleged loss or damages against the council. Such complaints will be passed to our insurance section which will deal with this as a claim. If you also want your complaint dealt with under the corporate complaints policy, we can do this but a complaint investigation can't decide whether the council is legally liable to pay you any form of damages.
The above list is not exhaustive.
We can't respond to complaints about schools. Each school has their own complaints process, which the governing body is responsible for. If you wish to make a complaint about a school, contact the relevant school direct.
Where your complaint refers to a service which is provided on our behalf by another organisation, stage 1 of this complaints process will be carried out by that organisation.
County councillors – this policy also does not cover complaints about the conduct of county councillors. How to complain about a county councillor.
This policy does not apply to any current employee of the county council who has a concern to raise. Current employees should raise concerns with their line manager or Human Resources.
You can ask a relative, friend or advocate to complain on your behalf or support you to make the complaint yourself.
If someone makes a complaint on your behalf, we will need to confirm with you your agreement to the complaint and your consent to share your information with your representative.
If your complaint is about adult social services or children's services, you can get help from someone. Find an advocate.
Children and young people can also get help to complain from the National Youth Advocacy Service.
A complaint is defined as an expression of dissatisfaction with Hertfordshire County Council that requires resolution.
In particular a complaint is:
- where you believe there has been a delay or a failure to provide a service
- where you are dissatisfied with how we have delivered policies
- where you are unhappy with an employee’s attitude or behaviour
- where you believe we have demonstrated poor customer service.
There are separate statutory procedures for certain complaints about Adult Social Services and Children’s Social Services. If your complaint falls within such procedures, the relevant complaints manager will let you know.
We are committed to dealing with all complaints and service users fairly and impartially and in accordance with the specific complaints policy and process that applies in each case.
However, we don't expect our staff to tolerate unreasonable behaviour and we will take decisive action to protect staff from such behaviour, in line with our Policy and Procedure for Managing Persistent and Vexatious Behaviour and Complaints (PDF, 91KB).
Here are the contact details of the complaints managers for each department. Postal complaints should be marked for the attention of the relevant complaints manager at Hertfordshire County Council and provide the room number or postal point.
Adult Care Services
Including adult social care, blue badge, services for older people and disabled people.
- Neuza Mendonça (Complaints Manager)
- 01992 556685
- Postal Point: CHO118, Room 164–166, County Hall, Pegs Lane, Hertford, Hertfordshire, SG13 8DF.
Including children's social care, education and support for families, children and young people.
- Kam Bhangal (Complaints Manager)
- 01992 588542
- Postal Point: CHO118, Room 164 – 166, County Hall, Pegs Lane, Hertford, Hertfordshire, SG13 8DF.
Fire and Rescue and Trading Standards
Complaints about the standard of service provided by Fire and Rescue and Trading Standards.
To complain about a trader or product, contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.
Highways and environment
Including household waste recycling centres and public & school transport.
Including stop smoking, drug and alcohol, sexual health and weight management services.
- Gill Burlingham (Complaints Manager)
- 0300 123 4040
- Postal Point: CHO231, County Hall, Pegs Lane, Hertford, Hertfordshire, SG13 8DE.
- Births, deaths and marriages, citizenship, property, finance and HR.
- For the attention of the complaints manager
- Postal Point: CHO243, County Hall, Pegs Lane, Hertford, Hertfordshire, SG13 8DE.
There are separate complaints processes for statutory adult and children’s social care issues. When we respond to your stage 1 complaint, we will advise how your complaint will be responded to, including relevant timescales.