We want to provide a good service to everyone but things can go wrong. If this happens we want to know about it so that we can put it right and learn from our mistakes.

Some simple issues are best handled as part of a service’s day-to-day business, rather than through our complaints process. You can usually resolve these quickly and effectively by contacting directly the service you are not happy with rather than having to wait 20 working days for a formal response.

You can speak to them by phone, write to them or report it online. Find the contact details for the service you need.

Some services also have separate appeals arrangements, which fall outside of the our complaints process. Common types of complaints that fall into this category are appeals against penalty charge notices, appeals against applications and planning enforcement; school admissions, housing benefit reviews and disabled Blue Badge appeals. See section 3 of the guide below for more details.

If you still want to make a complaint please follow the links below to find out more about our complaints process and how you can make a complaint to the council.

Sections in this guide (click title to view)

1. Make a complaint

The easiest way to make a complaint is to use our online form.

When you make your complaint please tell us as much as you can about your problem, including:

  • What went wrong
  • When it happened
  • Who you dealt with
  • Any reference numbers you have
  • How you would like the matter resolved

Please also include your full contact details – name, address, e-mail and telephone number. If you are complaining on behalf of someone else please include their details and signed confirmation that you have permission to act for them.

Complain online

We have dedicated forms for complaints about housing and complaints about the rest of the council. Please click on the correct link below:

If you would like to talk to someone please call 020 7926 9694.

If you would prefer to put your complaint in writing please e-mail complaints@lambeth.gov.uk or write to us at

London Borough of Lambeth

PO Box 734

Winchester

SO23 5DG

You can also make a complaint in person to any member of council staff.

2. Our complaints policy

We have a slightly different process for dealing with complaints about housing management issues compared to the rest of the council, although in both cases there is a simple two-stage process.

The stages in making a complaint are:

Local Resolution:

A formal complaint which will include a written response. At this stage your complaint will be investigated by the service you have complained about. We think they are in the best position to resolve your complaint.

If your complaint is about a Housing Management issue you will be contacted within 24 hours of making your complaint. The officer that contacts you will agree an approach to try to resolve your complaint informally. If you do not agree an approach or you still want to make a formal complaint, your complaint will be dealt with by the appropriate area housing office.

We will acknowledge your complaint in two working days and aim to send a full response within 20 working days.

Sometimes it may take longer to provide a response. If this is the case we will tell you the reason why there is a delay and when you can expect a full response.

Final Review

If you do not think that your complaint has been resolved after the first stage, you have the right to have it reviewed. This second stage is called Final Review and the investigation is independent of the service you have complained about.

We will acknowledge your complaint in 2 working days and aim to send a full response within 25 working days.

Sometimes it may take longer to provide a response. If this is the case we will tell you the reason why there is a delay and when you can expect a full response.

Details of how to escalate your complaint will be included at the end of the Local Resolution response.

Please note that some issues are outside the remit of the complaints procedure. This could be where an alternative process, such as a statutory appeals process, exists. For more information please see the ‘Exceptions to the complaints procedure’ section, below. If your complaint is about an issue that is outside the remit of the complaints process we will not be able to deal with it. You will be advised how to take forward your issue.

3. Exceptions to the complaints procedure

The following areas are outside of the complaints process. Please follow the link/instructions below to find out how to make a complaint about one of these services.

4. The Ombudsman

If you are not happy with the way the council has handled your complaint you have the right to refer it to the Ombudsman. There are two Ombudsmen that cover the work of the council – the Local Government Ombudsman and the Independent Housing Ombudsman. Both Ombudsmen have a slightly different approach to how they investigate complaints. Please see below for more information.

Local Government Ombudsman (LGO)

The LGO investigates complaints about most council services except for those related to housing management. You can make a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman at any time during the process, however, they will usually only investigate a complaint that has completed our own process.

If you wish to contact the Local Government Ombudsman his contact details are:

PO 4771

Coventry

CV4 0EH



Telephone: 0300 061 0614

Website: www.lgo.org.uk

Independent Housing Ombudsman (IHO)

To complain to the Independent Housing Ombudsman you must have completed the council’s complaints process and either be referred by any MP in England or a Lambeth councillor, or wait eight weeks from the date of receiving our final response to approach them directly yourself.

Contact details for the Independent Housing Ombudsman are:

Housing Ombudsman Service

1 Aldwych

London

WC2B 4HN



Telephone: 0300 111 3000
E-mail: info@housing-ombudsman.org.uk

Web: www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk

Contact details for all MPs can be found on the House of Commons website. You can also contact the House of Commons by telephoning their Information Office on 020 7219 4272 or by writing to:

House of Commons

London

SW1A 0AA

Find out contact details for Lambeth councillors on the website. You can approach any councillor in Lambeth.

You can also find contact details for Lambeth councillors by calling 020 7926 1000 or writing to:

Lambeth Town Hall
Brixton Hill
SW2 1RW

5. Complaints about councillor conduct

All of our councillors (and voting co-opted members or members of the Health and Wellbeing Board) are subject to the council’s code of conduct.

If you think that a councillor, voting co-opted member or member of the Health and Wellbeing Board has failed to comply with the Members Code of Conduct, you have the right to complain.

For more information about making a complaint please see our website, Complaining about the conduct of your Councillor.