The Somerset Drainage Boards Consortium has a procedure for dealing with complaints about the Consortium or its constituent Boards from members of the public and others. Despite our best endeavours, we recognise that things may not always meet your expectations. We follow a standard procedure to ensure that we investigate your complaint fully and fairly, and which enables complaints to be dealt with in a consistent way.
We want to hear from you if you are unhappy with our services and want to make a complaint.
What is a Complaint?
A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction about the standard of service, action or lack of action made by the Board or its staff, contractors etc, affecting an individual member of the public or other group or organization. The complaint must be made in writing.
The Steps to Follow
- Some problems can be dealt with immediately, and we would like to put things right straight away if possible, rather than involve you in filling out a form and waiting for a response. So your first step if you are not happy with the way we have dealt with you is to go back to the person in the Board who handled the matter in the first place.
- If you are still not satisfied with the way your problem has been dealt with, then we will adopt a formal procedure in order to investigate it further. This then becomes a complaint. Please fill in the Boards complaint form setting out what went wrong and what you think the Board should do to put things right. Please provide as much information as possible about your complaint and include reference numbers, dates of correspondence etc. Return the completed form to the Board.
- We will acknowledge your complaint in writing or by phone to confirm that we have understood your concerns correctly. The complaint will be investigated by the Consortium’s Chief Executive.
- We will investigate your complaint, and where possible, send a written reply to you within 15 working days of our acknowledgement. The complaint will be acknowledged within 5 working days. If the matter requires further investigation, we will tell you the reason for the delay and when a full reply will be sent.
- If you are not satisfied with our reply, please let us know why. If possible, we will investigate further and if then your concerns are still unresolved, the matter will be discussed at a full Board Meeting. We will keep you informed of progress and provide a further reply within 15 working days of receiving your letter.
The Local Government Ombudsman
If you remain unsatisfied with the way we have dealt with your complaint you may refer it to the Local Government Ombudsman, who works independently to the Board, investigating allegations of maladministration causing injustice to the person who has complained. However, the Ombudsman will usually expect you to have tried to get your complaint settled by the Board first. Any complaint to the Ombudsman must involve more than a disagreement with the Board and needs to show that something went wrong and an injustice was caused.
For example it might be maladministration if the Board:-
- made a mistake;
- took too long to do something;
- did not follow its own rules or the law;
- broke its promises;
- treated you unfairly;
- gave you wrong information; or
- did not make a decision in the right way – that is, if it:-
- did not follow the right procedures when making the decision;
- did not consider all the relevant information; or
- wrongly considered irrelevant information.
You might have been caused an injustice by the Board’s maladministration if, for example, you:-
- did not get the service or benefit you were entitled to or there was a delay before you got it;
- suffered financial loss;
- were put to a lot of avoidable expense, trouble or inconvenience, or suffered avoidable uncertainty or stress.
The Local Government Ombudsman might not investigate your complaint if they consider that the injustice is only slight, or if the Board has already taken, or is willing to take, satisfactory action to resolve it.
The Local Government Ombudsman has a leaflet called “Complaint to the Council? How to Complain to the Local Government Ombudsman “. While the leaflet refers to Councils, the same principles apply equally to IDBs. There is also a leaflet on the LGO website entitled ” How the Ombudsman will deal with your complaint “. You can get a copy of these leaflets by telephoning their Adviceline on 0845 602 1983, or downloading them from their website.
Why we want to hear from you
Although we want to hear from you if you feel you need to complain, we like to hear any comments you have about our overall service performance. We want to provide the best possible service and your comments will help us to know what we are doing well, and also what we need to improve on.
If you wish to Complain
If you wish to make a complaint, a complaints form can be downloaded here or can be obtained from the Boards office. Our address and telephone number can be found below.