What is a complaint?
A complaint is generally any expression of dissatisfaction with the Council’s policies and procedures, quality of service, fees and charges or follow-up communication.
The Council does not regard the following as complaints:
- requests for service, such as collection of garbage or sweeping of streets
- reports of damaged or faulty Council infrastructure such as blocked road drains or blown street lights
- requests for information or explanation of policies, procedures and decisions of Council
- concerns about neighbours or neighbouring property such as barking dogs, loud music or unauthorised building work.
However, the Council does want to hear from you about any of these matters — and if we fail to provide the appropriate service, that is grounds for a complaint. For example, if you report a blocked drain and the Council fails to respond, then you have reason to lodge a formal complaint against the Council.
Lodging a complaint
Your response to our service and facilities is very important. We value customer feedback and use it to improve our organisation. We aim to meet the diverse needs of our customers by providing customer service that is friendly, helpful and professional.
We understand that we may not be able to satisfy everyone, on every occasion. If you are not satisfied with our service and you have a complaint, please contact us.
Generally, you can make a complaint in-person, by telephone, letter, or using our online Customer Service request form. For more complicated and serious matters, you may be asked to make a written submission. Any Councillor or member of staff can accept a complaint. When making a complaint, provide your name, address, contact telephone number and a brief description of the problem.
Once we have received your complaint, we pass it to the relevant Council section for action and response. Your complaint is also lodged with the Council's Customer Services Manager, who will monitor the matter and make sure you get a timely response.
We aim to respond to your complaint within seven working days but sometimes it may take longer if the matter is complicated. If we anticipate a delay, we will acknowledge your complaint and let you know when a detailed response is likely.
If you require any guidance or assistance with Council's complaints handling system, please telephone the Customer Services staff or the Customer Services Manager on 9391 7922, weekdays between 8am and 4:30pm.
Taking your complaint further
While most complaints will be satisfactorily resolved, you have the right to seek a second opinion. In such cases, all details of your complaint will be referred by the Customer Services Manager to either a Divisional Director or the General Manager for careful consideration. The person handling the matter may need to contact you before making a final decision. Once again, you will be kept informed of the progress of the matter.
The Council is confident it can resolve the majority of complaints and appreciates the opportunity to respond to your concerns. There are a number of State Government organisations that can review the actions and decisions of Council and it is your right to contact them.
Office of Local Government (OLG)
The OLG helps make sure local councils act fairly and reasonably by receiving complaints on the conduct and management of councils, including pecuniary interest matters. The OLG undertakes preliminary enquiries before determining whether formal investigations are required. The OLG advises only a small proportion of enquiries result in investigations.
Office of Local Government
Sydney Office: Level 9, 6 O'Connell Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Postal address: PO Box R1772, Royal Exchange NSW 1225
Phone: 02 9289 4000
Fax: 02 9289 4099
Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW
The Anti-Discrimination Board investigates actions or decisions of public or private organisations, including local councils, in relation to breaches of the Anti-Discrimination Act (NSW) 1977. Such actions or decisions might relate to discrimination or harassment because of a person's sex, pregnancy, race, colour, nationality or ethnic background, marital status, disability, sexual preference, age or transgender.
Sydney Office: Level 4, 175 Castlereagh St, Sydney NSW 2000
Postal address: PO Box A2122, Sydney South NSW 1235
Phone: 02 9268 5544
Facsimile: 02 9268 5500
Email (enquiries): firstname.lastname@example.org
Email (complaints): email@example.com
The NSW Ombudsman
The NSW Ombudsman handles complaints dealing with a council's failure to follow proper procedures, act on unauthorised work, enforce development consent conditions or reply to correspondence.
The Ombudsman will also investigate unreasonable, discriminatory or inconsistent treatment but does not have the power to amend or cancel development consents and building approvals.
If you are not happy with the way the Council has handled your complaint, you may make a formal complaint in writing to the Ombudsman. Priority is given to serious matters, especially if the problem affects other people. If the Ombudsman cannot take up your complaint, an explanation will be given.
The Ombudsman's main responsibility is to get the facts and make recommendations. Local councils usually accept these recommendations.
The NSW Ombudsman
Level 24, 580 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: 02 9286 1000
Fax: 02 9283 2911
The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)
The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) may investigate allegations of corrupt conduct in local councils, its officers and councillors. The Commission accepts information and complaints about alleged corrupt conduct from members of the public and from councils. To provide information, report a matter, make an enquiry or arrange an appointment contact:
Level 7, 255 Elizabeth Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Postal address: GPO Box 500, Sydney NSW 2001
Phone: 02 8281 5999 or 1800 463 909 (toll free)
Fax: 02 9264 5364