Handling Complaints – The Complaints Procedure
Before the Meeting
- The complainant should be asked to put the complaint about the council’s procedures or administration in writing to the clerk or other nominated officer.
- If the complainant does not wish to put the complaint to the clerk or other nominated officer, he or she should be advised to address it to the chairman of the council.
- The clerk or other nominated officer shall acknowledge receipt of the complaint and advise the complainant when the matter will be considered by the council or by the committee established for the purposes of hearing complaints. The complainant should also be advised whether the complaint will be treated as confidential or whether, for example, notice of it will be given in the usual way (if, for example, the complaint is to be heard by a committee).
- The complainant shall be invited to attend a meeting and to bring with them a representative if they wish.
- Seven clear working days prior to the meeting, the complainant shall provide the council with copies of any documentation or other evidence relied on. The council shall provide the complainant with copies of any documentation upon which they wish to rely at the meeting and shall do so promptly, allowing the claimant the opportunity to read the material in good time for the meeting.
At the Meeting
- The council shall consider whether the circumstances of the meeting warrant the exclusion of the public and the press. Any decision on a complaint shall be announced at the council meeting in public.
- The chairman should introduce everyone and explain the procedure.
- The complainant (or representative) should outline the grounds for complaint and, thereafter, questions may be asked by (i) the clerk or other nominated officer and then (ii), members.
- The clerk or other nominated officer will have an opportunity to explain the council’s position and questions may be asked by (i) the complainant and (ii), members.
- The clerk or other nominated officer and then the complainant should be offered the opportunity to summarise their position.
- The clerk or other nominated officer and the complainant should be asked to leave the room while members decide whether or not the grounds for the complaint have been made. If a point of clarification is necessary, both parties shall be invited back.
- The clerk or other nominated officer and the complainant should be given the opportunity to wait for the decision but if the decision is unlikely to be finalised on that day they should be advised when the decision is likely to be made and when it is likely to be communicated to them.
After the Meeting
- The decision should be confirmed in writing within seven working days together with details of any action to be taken.
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Vexatious and repeated requests policy
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) gives the public a right of access to information held by public authorities.
Hartington Nether Quarter Parish Council (The Council) is committed to dealing with genuine enquiries and requests for information appropriately and in accordance with our other policies. Whilst The Council aims to be open and transparent, it is aware of the need to ensure that its time is not taken up pursuing vexatious or repeated requests and that staff and councillors are protected from such enquiries. The Council also has a responsibility to ensure the effective use of its resources, which are funded by the council tax payers of the parish of Hartington Nether Quarter.
Our policy is to follow the latest guidance from the Information Commissioners Office to ensure that requests that are deemed to be repeated or vexatious are dealt with fairly.
Dealing with vexatious requests – Section 14 Freedom of Information Act:
Dealing with repeat requests – Section 14 (2) Freedom of Information Act:
Adopted by Hartington Nether Quarter Parish Council (9.4.2015)