FOI Request - Complaints Procedure
I have read the Scottish Government's complaints procedure for councils, and I see there are two stages. The first is to complain directly to the service involved, and if that does not solve the problem, the second stage is to make an official complaint to the council using the formal complaints procedure.
My question is: Are there any circumstances where the council or department would escalate things to an official complaint, even if the complainant had not requested this? If so, under what circumstances would this be done?
All 32 Scottish councils deal with complaints through a model complaint handling procedure.
There are two stages to this procedure.
Front line (stage 1) - where a complaint is dealt with within 5 working days.
Investigation (stage 2) - acknowledged within 3 working days and dealt with within 20 working days.
Senior managers can provided authorised extension periods for both stages.
A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction by one or more members of the public about service provision by the council including by those contracted by the council. This is the determining factor for any correspondence received when deciding to consider it as a complaint. A customer can report dissatisfaction anonymously or can elect to withdraw a complaint.
Some customers may have diversity issues that impact on their ability to communicate their complaint and often receive third party assistance to do so such as an advocacy service.
Complaints are received; face to face, by phone, by email and by letter. Once received they are logged onto a complaints database and allocated to the relevant department to deal with.
The purpose of complaint handling is to learn from mistakes and take action to improve service provision.
Once the council have gone through their complaint process, the customer is advised to report any further dissatisfaction to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.