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Comments, compliments and complaints

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1. Making a complaint

When to make a complaint

You can make a formal complaint if you think we have:

  • done something wrong
  • behaved unfairly or impolitely
  • not carried out a service to an agreed standard
  • not responded to your request for a service within our stated timescale

Our complaints process is for an on-going service failure that you believe is our fault.

We don’t treat service requests as complaints. If you report graffiti, need a repair to your council house, or tell us that we’ve missed your bin, we will deal with this as part of our normal service delivery. To make a service request please select one of the following options or search our website.


Who can make a complaint?

Anyone can make a complaint on your behalf, if you are unable to do so. They will need signed authorisation from you.

We deal with all complaints, comments and compliments in confidence.


Time limit for making complaints

You will need to raise your complaint within 12 months of when you first noticed the issue.

We will not normally consider a complaint made after that time.

A Stage Two - Independent review of your complaint can be requested up to 3 months after the resolution of the Stage One complaint.


How will your formal complaint be dealt with?

Registration of your complaint

If you use the online form we will acknowledge receipt of your complaint immediately. Otherwise we will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 5 working days.


Quickly resolved complaints

We aim to resolve complaints at the first point of contact and we may call you to discuss your complaint. When we are at fault we need to put things right. We will:

  • acknowledge our mistakes
  • apologise for them
  • explain why things went wrong and what we will do to prevent the same mistake happening again


Stage One - Investigation of your complaint 

If we can't resolve your complaint quickly, or if it is clear that we need to investigate it in more detail, we will refer it to the relevant department. This is a Stage One complaint.

We will investigate your complaint within 20 working days we will send you our findings and proposed actions. We may extend this time if the investigation is complex.


Stage Two – Independent review of your complaint

If you are still not satisfied after our Stage One investigation, you can request an independent review by a senior officer.

Your request must be made within 3 months of the resolution of the Stage One complaint. We will complete a Stage Two review within 20 working days and send you a final response.

Before we carry out a Stage Two review, you will need to explain to us in writing why you are still not satisfied and why you are requesting a review. Dissatisfaction with the outcome of your complaint will not be sufficient. We will require evidence of error or inaccuracies in our findings, evidence of factually incorrect statements and any evidence that might have a material impact on the Stage One response. 


If your complaint is still unresolved?

If you have been through all stages of our complaints procedure and are still unhappy, you can ask the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman to review your complaint.

If the matter relates to housing management, you should ask the Housing Ombudsman to review your complaint.

We will direct you to the appropriate Ombudsman for the type of complaint.

The Ombudsman investigates complaints in a fair and independent way and does not take sides. It is a free service. This is the final stage for complaints about councils.

The Ombudsman expects your complaint to have been through all stages of our process before you contact them. If you have not heard from us about your complaint within a reasonable time, usually up to 12 weeks, the Ombudsman may decide to look into your complaint anyway.

You also have the right to take this matter up with your local councillor.

The best way to make a complaint is by using our online form. Click the Start button below to make a complaint.


What is a complaint?

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction, however made, about the standard of service, actions or lack of action by the council, its own staff, or those acting on its behalf, affecting an individual resident or group of residents. 


How to make a complaint

The best way to make a complaint is by using our online form. Click the Start button to make a complaint:


You can also make a complaint by:

  • letter to: Complaints Officer, Exeter City Council, Civic Centre, Paris Street, EXETER, EX1 1JN
  • telephone on 01392 277888 (written confirmation will be required)

To make a complaint about a councillor please see our Complaints about councillors page.