The Complaints Procedure applies to all complaints to the Council.
1. Why Complain? Will it make a difference?
The Council are always looking for ways to improve the quality of their services and comments help them to do this. They also want to know when something has gone wrong so that they can put it right.
All information will be kept confidential, particularly names and addresses which could identify a complainant, site or complaint. All complaints will be recorded and include:-
Full name and address
Details of the complaint including relevant dates
The aim is to swiftly investigate all complaints with impartiality, and, if at fault, to find a solution whenever possible to both the satisfaction of both complainant and the Council.
4. Definition of Complaints
It is not easy to define, as individual perceptions differ widely. However, for our purposes, a complaint is:-
“An expression of dissatisfaction with any function undertaken by the Fordingbridge Town Council or employees”
More specifically a complaint is where:-
- The Council has not done something it has a duty to do or normally does
- The Council has done something it has no right to do or does not normally do as a matter of established practice
- The conduct or behaviour of a member of staff is unsatisfactory
- A person does not understand or is not informed of why or how a situation arose or exists
- An adopted and known procedure is not followed
- Maladministration is alleged.
5. What to do if you have a complaint about Fordingbridge Town Council
Contact the Town Clerk who is the responsible officer as soon as possible. This can be done by telephone or email, in person, or by a friend or relative, but ideally complaints should be made in writing giving names and addresses and relevant dates with as much information as possible.
The Town Clerk will try to resolve the complaint straight away but if this is not possible you will be informed. If possible a full reply will be sent within ten to fifteen working days.
The Chairman of the Town Council (Town Mayor) will be informed of the complaint and the action being taken, and will keep the matter under review.
If the complaint involves the Town Clerk or other member of staff, an approach should be made direct to the Chairman of the Town Council (Town Mayor).
6. Putting Things Right
If following the investigation into the complaint, the Council is found to be at fault, every effort will be made to resolve the complaint to the satisfaction of the complainant.
Where subsequent actions or just the passage of time prevent restitution other actions may be an appropriate local settlement. When considering a local settlement it must be remembered the remedy should be appropriate to the injustice and may be reduced where a complainant has contributed to the injustice suffered.
7. What if I have a complaint about the behaviour of a particular Councillor (or Councillors)?
Also see: Core Documents
By law, all Members and co-opted Members are required to follow a Code of Conduct when acting in their capacity as a Member. A Code of Conduct has been adopted by the Town Council which can be found on our website or upon request to the Town Council Office. The Code allows the Town Council to fulfil its obligations under section 27(2) of the Localism Act 2011 and is consistent with the following principles of public life as set out in the Act:
SELFLESSNESS – Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits.
INTEGRITY – Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.
OBJECTIVITY – In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.
ACCOUNTABILITY – Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
OPENNESS – Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.
HONESTY – Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
LEADERSHIP – Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.
New Forest District Council are the authority which deals with complaints against Councillors and has adopted procedures for dealing with those complaints. If a member of the public feels a councillor has broken any of the rules of the Code of Conduct, they can complain to the Monitoring Officer at New Forest District Council who will investigate the allegation that councillors’ behaviour may have fallen short of the required standards.
The Monitoring Officer can be contacted at New Forest District Council, Appletree Court, Lyndhurst, SO43 7PA, Tel 02380 285000.
8. What type of behaviour is covered by the Code of Conduct?
Broadly, the Code requires Councillors:-
- Not to discriminate unlawfully;
- To treat others with respect;
- Not to do anything to compromise the impartiality of Council employees;
- Not to disclose confidential information;
- Not to stop anyone gaining access to information they are entitled to;
- Not to conduct themselves so as to bring their office, or the Council in disrepute;
- Not to use their position to improperly secure an advantage, or a disadvantage, for anyone;
- Not to use the Council’s resources for unauthorised political purposes;
- If they have a personal interest in a matter than comes before the Council, to declare the fact and, if appropriate, not take part in the decision making process
- To register financial and other interests (a copy of the register is available for public inspection.
The Town Clerk is always pleased to help with a specific complaint or just with general guidance
The contact address is:
The Town Hall,
63 High Street,
Hampshire SP6 1AS
Telephone – 01425 654134