COMPLAINT HANDLING PROCEDURES
County Hall | Millennium Centre | Dundalk |
Co. Louth | A91 KFW6
t 042 9335457 w www.louthcoco.ie @louthcoco.ie
Louth County council are committed to providing an efficient and courteous service to all our customers. However, sometimes things do go wrong. If you have a problem or are unhappy with any aspect of our service, we want to know about it. When we have made a mistake, or are otherwise at fault, we will apologise, do what we can to remedy the situation at the earliest opportunity and where appropriate, take whatever measures are necessary to prevent a similar situation recurring. This procedure may be used not only to make a complaint, but also to make a comment or suggestion on council services.
The services of Louth County Council are assigned over the following policy areas:-
Corporate Services, Environment & European Relations
Economic Development, Infrastructure & Planning
Operations & Local Services
Housing, Community & Emergency Services
Finance & Information Technology
Each policy area contains a staffing complement headed by a Director of Services. A Complaints Officer has been designated within each of these areas. The officer is at senior level with responsibility for handling and resolving complaints received which relate to the policy area in question. He/She has the authority to alter/nullify the original decision made in the case and to award redress in appropriate circumstances, subject to limits outlined by the Chief Executive.
HOW TO MAKE A COMPLAINT
Louth County Council have put in place a simple three-stage procedure for dealing with complaints.
Stage 1: Discuss at the point of service - The people who can best deal with a complaint are those who provide the service. All staff will take responsibility for dealing with a complaint. Mistakes and misunderstandings are usually sorted out quickly and efficiently at this stage.
Stage 2: Contact the Complaints Officer - If you are unhappy with the outcome of Stage 1, you can contact the relevant Complaints Officer who will fully investigate the matter. (They are listed on this leaflet for your convenience).
Stage 3: Contact the Appeals Officer - If you are still dissatisfied with the decision or response at this stage, you may pursue the matter with the relevant Appeals Officer who will have the matter fully and impartially investigated. Your complaint will be acknowledged within one week, treated confidentially and a decision or update will be given within four weeks. Complaints should, if possible, be made in writing on the prescribed complaint form.
The Office of the Ombudsman
If you are not satisfied with our final response regarding your complaint, you may contact the Office of the Ombudsman. The office provides an independent national service responsible for investigating complaints made about Public Bodies.
The address for contact is:-
Office of the Ombudsman
18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2
Tel: 01 678 5222, Fax: 01 661 0570
Lo-Call: 1890 223 090
DO I NEED TO COMPLAIN?
Louth County Council places considerable emphasis on providing quality services. All staff are committed to this approach and will give every assistance in resolving issues to the satisfaction of customers. It is not expected, therefore, that the recourse to formal complaints will be frequent. In some cases there is a statutory appeal procedure and this will also be brought to the attention of customers at Stage 1 of the process.
HOW DO I COMPLAIN?
All complaints received must be in writing or email. All written complaints must be signed. Staff will provide assistance with the assurance that it will be treated sensitively and confidentially as far as possible. Application forms to facilitate the public when making a complaint are available in all our public offices, libraries and on the internet.
Q. Do I use this procedure for all complaints?
Not all complaints are appropriate to this procedure.
These are as follows:-
- Occasions where a statutory right of appeal already exists (e.g. planning matters, traffic fines etc.).
- Routine requests for services that are not subject to formal complaint should be addressed in the first instance to the relevant section of the local authority. The various sections and their functions are detailed overleaf.
Our staff will be glad to assist and advise you on the correct procedure to use.