Procedure for Management of Complaints and Feedback
Customers are advised to read our Procedure for the Management of Complaints and Feedback to fully understand the Complaint Process. The following content summarises the complaint and feedback process.
Kildare County Council is committed to providing the highest standard of customer service. However, it is recognised that there may be, from time to time, cause for complaint. Our Procedure for the Management of Complaints and Feedback aims to ensure that complaints are dealt with in a consistent, equitable and transparent manner.
We see complaints as an opportunity to improve. Every customer has a right to complain regarding poor service or failures arising from administrative or operational action.
We also wish to reassure prospective complainants that the making of a complaint will not, in any way, affect the complainants’ future dealings with Kildare County Council.
What is a complaint?
“A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction by one or more members of the public about an organisation’s action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by or on behalf of the organisation”. Office of the Ombudsman, Ireland.
Customers should note there is a difference between making a complaint and reporting a fault. For example, notifying the Council of a pothole is reporting a fault. This becomes a complaint if the action promised is not carried out.
Complaints relate to a range of circumstances such as where:
- we do not deliver a service on time or fail to respond.
- we give the wrong information or do not consider all relevant information.
- you receive poor-quality service.
- you have a complaint about the conduct of a member of staff, or
- you have a complaint about our policy or procedure on a matter.
Complaints about alleged incidents of non-compliance in the areas of Planning, Waste, Anti-Social Behaviour or Building Control, must be made under relevant processes which can be found online: www.kildarecoco.ie/AllServices/
Customers are advised that, unless there are exceptional circumstances, a complaint should be brought within 12 months of experiencing or learning of the subject of the complaint.
Submission of complaints outside of this time frame may result in the Council’s refusal to investigate. Complaints that are deemed to be trivial, vexatious, or previously resolved may also result in a refusal to investigate.
How to Make a Complaint
Step 1: Frontline resolution
We believe it is best to deal with complaints in the most direct way. To make a complaint you can:
Post to Customer Service Officer, Corporate Services, Arás Chill Dara, Devoy Park, Naas, Co. Kildare W91 X77F.
In Person – staff at our Customer Service desk will provide you with a complaint form and can assist with completing the form if required.
By Phone – Customer Service staff can be contacted at 045 980 200. This is not a dedicated complaints line and customers may have to queue to access a staff member at peak times.
Unless the matter raised can be resolved by our Customer Service Team, complaints will be referred directly to the section that you have dealt with, and a response will issue from that section. In most circumstances our staff do their best to settle your complaint quickly and informally without you needing to do anything else.
You can expect a response at this stage within 10 working days.
Stage 2 - Formal Complaint/Review
If you are unhappy with the outcome of stage 1 you can make a formal complaint for a review of the matter. Formal complaints must be in writing (ideally using our online form and then email or post as above) to assist us in dealing with your complaint as efficiently and effectively as possible. The formal complaint process will require you to indicate:
- That you have made a Stage 1 complaint and provide any reply from the Council.
- Explain why you are still not satisfied and what you expect from a further review
You can expect a response at this stage within 25 working days.
Stage 3 – Office of the Ombudsman
You can complain to the Ombudsman at any time, however, the Ombudsman will usually refer a complaint back to the Council if it has not been through our complaint’s procedure, in particular if the complaint has not been subject of a decision at Stage 2 Formal Complaint/Review.
The best way to contact the Ombudsman is by:
- Clicking on the ‘Make A Complaint’ link at ombudsman.ie or
- Writing to: Office of the Ombudsman, 6 Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2, D02W773 or
- Calling the Ombudsman on 01 639 5600 if you have any queries or if you need help making your complaint.
Complaints about staff conduct
Where the complaint relates to the conduct of a staff member while providing a service, the management of the complaint will be by a manager in that Section and not the staff member you engaged with. Customers should note that only complaints made using the channels set out in our procedure will be accepted and the Council advises customers to refrain from publication of staff names or other identifiable information related to their interaction with staff on social media platforms or other public forums.
Where a customer publishes staff names or other identifiable information on a social media platform or other public forum the staff members and/or the Council may exercise their right to appropriate remedy. To protect privacy rights, customers should note that where the Council determines that an investigation outside the Complaints Procedure, for example, regarding staff conduct, is required, the existence of such an investigation, its progression and outcomes are personal information and will not be communicated.
Customers are always encouraged to engage with Kildare County Council in the first instance regarding their concerns. However, there may be circumstances where they wish to pursue matters through other channels.
Equality: Kildare County Council is subject to the Equal Status Acts (as amended) and aims to make sure that people are treated equally when they access our services. The Workplace Relations Commission manage complaints related to the Equal Status Acts. If a customer feels they have been discriminated against under these Acts, they should follow the process as set out by the Commission on their website
Services to children: The Office of the Ombudsman for Children investigate complaints about services provided to children by public organisations. More information available online: www.oco.ie or by calling 1800 20 20 40.
Accessibility: The Council is required, under the Disability Act, 2005 to appoint an Inquiry Officer to deal with complaints received in relation to certain sections of the Act.
Section 25 Access to Public Buildings
Section 26 Access to Services
Section 27 Accessibility of Services supplied to a public body
Section 28 Access to Information
Section 29 Access to Heritage Sites
The Inquiry Officer for complaints under the Disability Act is the Customer Services Manager who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 045 980 200.
Customer Code of Conduct
There may be upsetting circumstances leading up to a complaint. We do not view behaviour as unacceptable just because someone is forceful. We believe complainants have a right to be heard, understood and respected
However, we also consider that our staff and other customers have the same rights to be respected and heard. We therefore ask you to be polite and courteous in your dealings with us. We will not tolerate aggressive or abusive behaviour, unreasonable demands, or unreasonable persistence under this Complaints Procedure and our Customer Code of Conduct.
Code of Conduct for Councillors
Information on the Code of Conduct for Councillors and how to make a complaint regarding conduct is available here.