Hatfield and District Group Parish Council Complaints Procedure

  1. This policy documents sets our procedures for dealing with any complaints made about Hatfield and District Parish Council’s administration and procedures. The conduct of Councillors is covered by the Parish Councils Code of Conduct, adopted by the council. Complaints against policy decisions made by the council shall be referred back to council.
  2. If a complaint about the Council’s procedures or administration is notified orally to a Councillor or the Clerk, they should seek to satisfy the complaint fully. If that fails, the complainant should be asked to put the complaint in writing to the Clerk and be assured that it will be dealt with promptly after receipt.
  3. If the complainant prefers not to put the complaint to the Clerk, he or she shall be advised to put it to the Chairman of the Council.
  4. On receipt of a written complaint, the Clerk or the Chairman [as the case may be] shall, except where the complaint is about his/her own actions, try to settle the complaint directly with the complainant within the existing policy of the Council, but shall not do so in respect of a complaint about the behavior of the Clerk or a Councillor without notifying the person complained of and giving him/her an opportunity to comment on the manner in which it is intended to attempt to settle the complaint. Where the Clerk or Chairman received a written complaint about his/her own actions, he/she shall immediately refer the complaint to the Council.
  5. The Clerk or the Chairman shall report to the next meeting of the Council any written complaint disposed of by direct action with the complainant.
  6. The Clerk or the Chairman shall bring any written complaint that has not been settled to the next meeting of the Council. The Clerk shall notify that complainant of the date on which the complaint will be considered and the complainant shall be offered an opportunity to explain the complaint orally. [Unless such a matter may be related to Grievance, Disciplinary or Standards Board proceedings that are taking, or likely to take place when such a hearing may prejudice those hearings, when the complaint will have to be heard under Exempt Business to exclude any member of the public and press, or deferred on appropriate advice received.]
  7. The Council shall defer dealing with any written complaint only if it is of the opinion that issues of law or practice arise on which advice is necessary. The complaint shall be dealt with at the next meeting after the advice has been received.
  8. The Council shall consider whether the circumstances attending any complaint warrant the matter being discussed in the absence of the press and public but any decision on a complaint shall be announced at the Council meeting in public.
  9. As soon as may be practicable after the decision has been made, it and the nature of any action to be taken shall be communicated in writing to the complainant.
  10. In the event of serial facetious, vexatious or malicious complains from a member of the public the Council shall consider taking legal advice before responding formally to the coplainant or follow a course of action as outlined in the council’s policy for dealing with unreasonable complainant behavior.

This policy was adopted by Hatfield and District Group Parish council on 7 May 2013.