Complaints

COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE


INTRODUCTION

Louth County Council is 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 happening again. This procedure may be used not only to make a complaint, but also to make a comment or suggestion on council services.

THE ORGANISATION

There are 5 Directorates in Louth County Council, each headed up by a Director of Services, and they are:

  • Corporate and Emergency Services
  • Planning, Infrastructure, Economic Development
  • Operations
  • Housing and Quality of Life
  • Finance and Water Services

A senior member of staff has been designated as a complaints officer within each directorate. They have responsibility for handling and resolving complaints received which relate to the 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.

DO I NEED TO COMPLAIN?

There is a difference between making a complaint and reporting a fault. For example, notifying the Council of a pothole is reporting a fault. This only becomes a complaint if the remedial action promised is not carried out.

A complaint is only necessary when you are not satisfied with the service provided by the Council. This can be in relation to the way the service is delivered or failure to deliver the service to which you believe you are entitled.

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 of our public offices, libraries and on the Council’s website, louthcoco.ie.Do I use this procedure for all complaints

  1. Q. Do I use this procedure for all complaints?
  2. A. No.

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.

HOW TO MAKE A COMPLAINT?

Louth County Council has 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: Make a formal complaint - If you are unhappy with the outcome of Stage 1, you can complete and send the complaint form to Corporate Services who will acknowledge your complaint within 3 working days and refer it to the relevant complaints officer who will fully investigate the matter. The complaints officer will respond to your complaint within 20 working days of making the complaint. If they are unable to do so within that timeframe they will contact you with an expected date for a decision to be made.

Stage 3: Seek an Appeal of the decision made by the complaints officer - If you are still dissatisfied with the decision or response at this stage, you can request an appeal which will be handled by the relevant Director of Services. Your complaint will be acknowledged within 3 working days, treated confidentially and a decision or update will be given within four working weeks. Complaints should, if possible, be made in writing on the 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

6 Earlsfort Terrace

Dublin 2

Tel: 01 678 5222, Fax: 01 661 0570

Lo-Call: 1890 223 090

Email: complaints@ombudsman.ie

 

All complaints/appeal requests should be posted to:

Senior Executive Officer

Corporate Services

Louth County Council

County Hall

Millennium Centre

St. Alphonsus Road

Dundalk

Co Louth

or emailed to complaints@louthcoco.ie

Our staff will be glad to assist and advise you on the correct procedure to use.

Complaint Form