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Complaints and appeals procedure for general complaints

Information about complaints; what is a complaint; who can make a complaint; what areas are covered by the procedure; how to make a complaint; what to do if you are not happy with the response or outcome; compliance with legislation and finally, environmental complaints.

What is a complaint

At first sight, this might seem like a very simple question.  However, in practice it can be difficult to decide what constitutes a complaint as part of the council's day–to-day work.

As the Ombudsman's Office guidelines on complaints systems make clear, the term 'complaint' may cover a wide range of items not all of which may be appropriate to the complaints and appeals procedures e.g. requests for information or matters for which there is a statutory right of appeal, e.g. a planning appeal. Therefore, decisions where there is a statutory right of appeal should be dealt with outside the internal complaints and appeals procedure.

The Ombudsman's Office suggests the following definition as a starting point in determining what may constitute a complaint  'a complaint exists where a decision or action is taken which relates to the provision of a service or the performance of a function which, is claimed, is not in accordance with the rules, practice or policy of the organisation or the generally accepted principles of equity and good administrative practice and which adversely affects the person concerned'.

Who can make a complaint

Anyone can make a complaint if they feel that: 

  • They have been unfairly treated by Clare County Council
  • They have not been dealt with in a customer friendly manner
  • That a decision made with regard to them is wrong or did not take into consideration all the facts
  • That a request for a service / information has been ignored    

Are there any areas that are not covered by the complaints procedure

Yes, there are some areas that are excluded from the complaints procedure.

The complaints procedure does not apply to areas where the decisions are based on either legislation or adopted policies, e.g.:-

  • Decisions on planning applications
  • Decisions based on the Freedom of Information Act
  • Decisions on allocation of tenancies based on the approved scheme of letting priorities

How do I make a complaint

The people who can best deal with a complaint are those who provide the service.  If you have a concern or suggestion about a particular service you should write or speak to a member of staff in that particular service area.  The staff member will try to resolve your complaint without delay. 

If your complaint cannot be resolved by our staff, or if you are unhappy with the response you received, send your comment/complaint in writing or complete the form below:

and return it to the Customer Care Co-ordinator, Clare County Council who will arrange for your complaint to be investigated.

How do I know my complaint is being dealt with

You will receive an acknowledgement of receipt of a complaint within 5 working days. We will endeavour to provide a full response within 21 days. Some complaints may take longer to resolve. If we cannot respond fully within 21 days, we will keep you informed and updated on the progress of our investigation.

If I am not happy with the response received what can I do

We will try to put things right the first time, but if you are not satisfied with the way your complaint was handled, you can appeal the decision to the: Senior Executive Officer, Corporate Services Section.

What happens if I am still not happy with the outcome

If you feel that you have been unfairly treated or are not satisfied with our decision on your complaint, it is open to you to contact the Office of the Ombudsman.  By law the Ombudsman can investigate complaints about any of our administrative actions or procedures as well as delays or inaction in your dealings with us.  The Ombudsman provides an impartial, independent and free dispute resolution service.

Contact details are as follows:- 

Office of the Ombudsman
18 Lower Leeson Street
Dublin 2

Tel:  Lo-call 1890 22 30 30
Tel:  (01) 639 5600        
Fax:  (01) 639 5674

Email: ombudsman@ombudsman.gov.ie

Website:  www.ombudsman.ie

Compliance with Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla, 2003

For aggrievances concerning the provision of a bilingual service, the relevant ombudsman/body is Oifig Choimisinéir na dTeangacha Oifigiúla, An Spidéal, Co. na Gaillimhe.  This office was established to monitor compliance with Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla, and is independent of Clare County Council. 


Tel: (091) 504006
1890 – 504 - 006
Fax: (091) 504036
E-mail : eolas@coimisineir.ie  
 

Compliance with the Disability Act 2005  

We have established a complaints procedure under the Disability Act 2005.  This allows for complaints to be made by people with disabilities accessing Clare County Council services, information etc. It is managed by the council's inquiry officer and is linked to the customer action plan and the complaints and appeals procedures. You can contact the inquiry officer at (065) 6846475 or inquiryoff@clarecoco.ie  
 

Environmental complaints co-ordinator

Under the auspices of the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.), an environmental complaints co-ordinator has been appointed.  An environmental complaints form [PDF, 35kb] is available online or from the Clare County Council offices. Environmental complaints relate to air, noise, waste, waste water and planning.
 

An environmental complaints procedure is also in place in Clare County Council.  All environmental complaints are logged in the environment and emergency services directorate.

Page last reviewed: 27/04/15

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