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.
You can find full details in our Harlow Council complaints policy (pdf)
We updated our complaints policy on 1 January 2022. The new policy replaces the previous version and applies to all complaints.
If you complain without a reason, deliberately repeat complaints, or make them in a threatening way, then we may apply our separate persistent and vexatious 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 3 working days.
The acknowledgment 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 - Assistant Director
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 will need to tell us what is wrong, why the response you received to the stage 1 complaint didn’t resolve the issue and what you think can be done to put it right.
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 3 working days.
Your complaint will be passed to an Assistant Director to investigate. They have the authority to resolve most problems.
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.
They would expect people contacting them to have made use of the council’s two-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.
Complaints from councillors and MP’s will be subject to the normal workings and timescales of the procedure.
Housing Ombudsman complaint handling code
As a member of the Housing Ombudsman Scheme we have to comply with the Complaint Handling Code
As part of this, we have carried out a self-assessment (pdf) against the code and we take appropriate action to ensure our complaint handing is in line with the code.
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.
The Water Gardens
Harlow CM20 1WG