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Complaints

We expect our service to be fast, courteous, fair and consistent. If you feel this has not been the case, we’d like to know.

We take complaints seriously as they help us learn and improve our services. At all stages we will ask you to state the reasons why you are dissatisfied and how you feel the council can put things right.

Harlow Council complaints policy (pdf)

How to complain

Stage 1 - Service Manager

To raise a complaint, you need to fill in our complaint form. 

We will acknowledge your complaint within 2 working days.

The acknowledgement will give you a reference number, tell you when you can expect a full reply and who is dealing with the complaint.

We will pass your complaint to the manager of the service you originally dealt with.

You should get a full response within a maximum of 10 working days.

Stage 2 - Head of Service

If you are unhappy with our response at stage 1, you need to complete the complaints form again to start stage 2 of the procedure.

You need to start a stage 2 complaint within 28 days of receiving your stage 1 response.

We will acknowledge your stage 2 complaint within 2 working days.

Your complaint will be passed to the head of service to investigate. They have the authority to resolve most problems.

You should get a full response within a maximum of 10 working days.

Stage 3 – Chief Executive

If you have been through the first 2 stages and feel you have not been dealt with fairly and adequately, you need to fill in the complaints form again to start stage 3 (the final stage) of the procedure.

You need to start a stage 3 complaint within 28 days of receiving your stage 2 response.

We will acknowledge your stage 3 complaint within 2 working days.

Your complaint will be sent to the Chief Executive to be reviewed. They may choose to look into it themselves or appoint a senior manager to review the complaint on their behalf. 

They will decide whether to uphold your complaint and offer a final resolution or not uphold your complaint and write to tell you the reasons why.

You should get a full response within a maximum of 15 working days.

Extending time limits

In exceptional cases, we may extend the time limit to a reasonable time period and will write to you giving reasons why the timescale has been changed.

Other options

If we cannot resolve your complaint you can take it up with the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) or Housing Ombudsman.

They would expect people contacting them to have made use of the council’s 3-stage complaints procedure first, to get the problem resolved locally.

We will advise you how to do this when you reach the end of our complaints procedure.

At any stage you can refer your complaint to your local councillor or MP at their surgery, in writing or by phone.  You can find your local councillor or your MP for Harlow

Complaints from councillors and MP’s will be subject to the normal workings and timescales of the procedure.

Get help with your complaint

If you would like someone to help with your complaint or to speak on your behalf at an appeal, we can give you details of organisations that can help you. 

In housing cases, you might want to appoint a representative from the tenants and leaseholders group to help. 

Contact information

Office
Contact Harlow
Harlow Council
Civic Centre
The Water Gardens
College Square
Harlow CM20 1WG