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West Dunbartonshire Council implemented a new Complaints Handling Process in April 2013.  This was introduced in line with the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) model delivered to all Scottish Local Authorities. 

The Complaints Handling Process does not at this time include complaints made in respect of services delivered by the Health & Social Care Partnership.  Complaints made to the Health & Social Care Partnership are managed and reported separately by them.

Their complaints process can be viewed on the Making a Complaints page.

Our complaints process lets you tell us what you feel has gone wrong and helps us improve our services for everyone. We are happy to accept complaints by telephone, email, completing our online complaints form, in writing or in person.

Online Complaint Form

Our Complaints Handling Process has 2 stages:

Stage 1 - We will give you our decision in five working days or less, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Stage 2 - For complaints not resolved at Stage 1 or those that are complex and require a detailed investigation.

If after receiving our final response at Stage 2 you remain unhappy then you have the right to ask for your complaint to be independently reviewed, by either the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman or the Home Owner's Housing Panel.  We will provide you with the appropriate contact details as part of our final response to you. 

In the year from 1st April, 2015 - 31st March 2016 West Dunbartonshire Council managed a total of 800 complaints. Of these complaints 750 were resolved at stage 1 of our Complaints Handling Process, representing 94%.  Of the complaints responded to at stage 1 67% were resolved within 5 days, and in many cases at the first point of contact. 

There were 92 complaints closed at stage 2 representing 6% of the total complaints handled.  Stage 2 complaints are generally more complex in nature or may involve more than one council department.  Complaints handled within Stage 2 should be responded to within 20 working days.

The complaints handled at stage 2 may also be complaints which have not been resolved to a customer's satisfaction at stage 1.  There were 3% of complaints escalated to stage 2 of the process during 2015/16.

On closing a complaint an outcome is recorded on whether the complaint was upheld or not upheld by us.  Our decision on this is based on both the customer complaint and the response, i.e. did we not do what we said we would or did you feel you were not treated fairly or with respect.

Feedback from customers - good and bad - is welcomed by us.  Information from complaints is being used to help us identify improvements or changes we need to consider just as positive feedback helps us to know when we are getting something right.  No matter what the feedback, we can always do better.  Ultimately, we are sorry you if you feel the need to complain about us and our services, we are glad you are willing to tell us what is wrong or you are unhappy about and we are sure we can fix it if given the chance.

The table below shows the number of complaints closed at each stage and also the number of complaints upheld, partially upheld or not upheld by us.

Summary of Complaints 2015-16

Summary of Complaints 2013-14
No of ComplaintsClosedUpheldNot UpheldAverage Days to close
Stage 1 (Frontline) 750 458 292 7
Stage 2 (Investigation) 46 17 29 24
Total 796 475 321 *

*No total input as the average number of days is calculated per stage based on response times.

Audit & Performance Committee

Want to know more

Queries about the Complaints' Handling Procedure or any aspect of the above information should be directed to the council's Customer Relations Team.  

You can contact us at customer.relations@west-dunbarton.gov.uk and we will be happy to discuss this with you.