Renfrewshire Council

Making a complaint about Renfrewshire Council

We regard a complaint as any expression of dissatisfaction about our action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by us or on our behalf.

You can complain about things like:

  • delays in responding to your enquiries and requests
  • failure to provide a service
  • our standard of service
  • our policies
  • treatment by of attitude of a member of staff, or
  • our failure to follow proper procedure.

Your complaint may involve more than one council service or be about someone working on our behalf.

There are some things we can't deal with through our complaints handling procedure. These include:

  • a routine first-time request for a service, for example, a first-time request for a housing repair or action on antisocial behaviour
  • requests for compensation from the council, or
  • things that are covered by a right of appeal, for example, the level of priority given when applying for a house or a refusal to grant planning permission.

If other procedures or rights of appeal can help you resolve your concerns, we will give information and advice to help you.

Who can complain?

Anyone can make a complaint, including the representatives of someone who is dissatisfied with our service.

We understand that you may be unable of reluctant to make a complaint yourself. We can take complaints from a friend, relative or an advocate if you have given them your consent to complain for you.

For more information about advocacy:

Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance

  • phone: 0131 260 5380
  • website: www.siaa.org.uk

Equality Advisory Support Service

  • phone: 0800 444 205
  • textphone: 0800 444 206
  • post: FREEPOST Equality Advisory Support Service FPN4431

In line with the requirements of the Equality Act 2012, we aim to make our complaints process easy and accessible. We make reasonable adjustments to assist you if you have a disability that prevents you from making a complaint in writing. We can also help if English is not your first language by offering translation services. If you need information in another format such as large print or Braille, please let us know.

How do I complain?

You can complete the online form above or:

  • phone: 0300 300 0300
  • email: complaints@renfrewshire.gov.uk
  • write to: Complaints Officer, Renfrewshire Council, Renfrewshire House, Cotton St, Paisley PA1 1WB

It is usually easier for us to resolve complaints if you make them quickly and directly to the service concerned. So please talk to a member of staff at the service you are complaining about. Then they can try to resolve any problems on the spot.

When complaining, tell us:

  • your full name and address
  • as much as you can about the complaint
  • what has gone wrong, and
  • how you want us to resolve the matter.

How long do I have to make a complaint?

Normally, you should make your complaint within six months of:

  • the event you want to complain about, or
  • finding out that you have a reason to complain, but no longer than 12 months after the event itself.

In exceptional circumstances, we may be able to accept a complaint after the time limit. If you feel that the time limit should not apply to your complaint, please tell us why.

What happens when I have complained?

We will always tell you who is dealing with your complaint.

Our complaints procedure has two stages:

Stage One: Frontline resolution

We aim to resolve complaints quickly and close to where we provided the service. This could mean on-the-spot apology and explanation if something has clearly gone wrong, and immediate action to resolve the problem.

We will give you our decision at Stage One in five working days or less, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

If we can't resolve your complaint at this stage, we'll explain well and tell you what you can do next. We might suggest that you take your complaint to Stage Two. You may choose to do this immediately or sometime after you get our initial decision.

Stage Two: Investigation

Stage Two deals with two types of complaint: those that have not been resolved at Stage One: those that have not been resolved at Stage One and those that are complex and need detailed investigation.

When using Stage Two we will:

  • acknowledge receipt of your complaint within three working days
  • discuss your complaint with you to understand why you remain dissatisfied and what outcome you are looking for, and
  • give you a full response to the complaint as soon as possible and within 20 working days.

If our investigation will take longer than 20 working days, we will tell you. We'll agree revised time limits with you and keep you updated on progress.

What if I'm still not satisfied?

After we have fully investigated, if you are still not satisfied with our decision or the way we dealt with your complaint, you can ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) to look at it.

The SPSO can't normally look at:

  • a complaint that has not completed our complaints procedure (so please make sure it has done so before contacting the SPSO)
  • events that happened, or that you became aware of, more than a year ago, or
  • a matter that has been or is being considered in court.

You can contact the SPSO using the following:

  • phone: FREEPHONE 0800 377 7330
  • web: SPSO website
  • write to: Freepost SPSO

Social Work complaints

From 1 April 2017, the process for handling Social Work complaints has been brought into line with the process for complaints about the rest of the Council.

Social Work complaints will now be handled through a two stage process as outlined below:

Stage 1 (Frontline Resolution)

This aims to quickly resolve customer complaints at first point of contact within 5 working days. In exceptional circumstances, where there are clear and justifiable reasons for doing so an extension of no more than ten working days may be agreed with the customer.  This will only happen when an extension will make it more likely that the complaint will be resolved at the frontline resolution stage. This means that frontline resolution can in special circumstances take fifteen days in total.

Stage 2 (Investigation)

This is for complaints which have not been resolved at Stage 1 or that are complex, serious or high risk. These should be acknowledged within 3 working day with a response provided within 20 working days.

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO)
If you are still not satisfied with our decision or the way we dealt with your complaint, you can ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) to look at it:

  • Telephone - By Freephone 0800 377 7330 or call 0131 225 5300;
  • In person - Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, 4 Melville Street, Edinburgh, EH3 7NS;
  • In writing - Freepost SPSO (this is all you need to write on the envelope, and you don't need to use a stamp); or by
  • Fax: 0800 377 7331.

Council housing complaints

If you are a Renfrewshire Council tenant and you are unhappy about the services you receive or have issues about the way we are operate, you can use the Council's complaints procedure noted above, to report your concerns.

A significant performance failure is something that your landlord does, or fails to do, that puts the interests of its tenants at risk. This is something that does, or could, affect all of your landlord's tenants.

If your landlord does not deal with the failure using the complaints procedure noted above, you can contact the Scottish Housing Regulator. Their Significant Performance Failures page provides more information on what you should do and how to raise your concerns with them using the form provided by the Regulator.

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