Your Council

Complaints Procedure

The procedure makes sure we properly look into your complaint and give you a considered response. Find out our definition of a complaint.

Please Note: Adult Services and Children's Services departments, including schools, have separate arrangements for complaints. Adult and Children's Services local offices and our contact centre can tell you about the procedure. Individual schools can tell you about their complaints procedure.

Stage one

Talking with staff will usually resolve things, so the first thing we ask you to do is to raise the matter with the staff concerned. You can telephone, write a letter or call at their office. We hope they will be able to put things right straight away, or explain why they can’t.

Stage two

If you do not want to contact individual members of staff or are unhappy with their response, then you should contact the department responsible for that service. Our contact centre staff will help if you are not sure which department to contact. The chief officer for that service will make sure that the department investigates your complaint.

Stage three

We hope that you will be satisfied with that response. If not, you can ask the County Council’s Chief Executive to consider your complaint through the Corporate Complaints Team. This process is called a corporate investigation and will make sure that your complaint is looked at again independently and that you are given a written response setting out the conclusions.

The role of the corporate investigation is to check the correct policies and procedures have been followed and applied in any decision making process. We will not investigate any issues or complaints which are subject to an appeal or review process. We are also not able to overturn appeal decisions or responses to previous complaints you have made to a department. The complaints team can recommend changes to improve services or processes to the chief officer of individual departments.

How do I make suggestions or a complaint?

If you would like to make a suggestion or a complaint, complete the online complaint form. Alternatively you can write a letter to:

Corporate Complaints Team
Hampshire County Council
The Castle
Winchester
SO23 8UJ

or telephone our contact centre on 0845 603 5638 or local number 01329 225398.

What happens and how long will it take?

We will acknowledge your complaint within five working days from the date of receipt and tell you how long it will take to give you a full reply. We try to respond quickly to complaints and will reply to you within 20 working days.

Sometimes, due to the complexity of your complaint we will not be able to meet this timescale. If this happens we will write to you, and keep you fully informed of the progress being made.

Putting things right

If we get something wrong, we will do our best to put it right. We will review our policies and procedures to try to stop it happening again. We will admit our mistakes and offer a full apology. We may offer financial compensation if you suffered a loss as a result of our mistake.

We monitor complaints and publish reports on how many complaints each service has received. The reports highlight problem areas and we use this information to improve our services.

Ombudsman

If you are unhappy with the way we have dealt with your complaint at the end of a Stage three investigation, or feel we have treated you unfairly, you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will expect you to have taken your complaint through our own procedures first.

Contacts and further information

If you would like more information about how the County Council is organised or any of the services we provide please contact us.