Filling in a form copyright LDNPA
Filling in a form

Complaints, comments and feedback

We want to provide high quality services at all times - please see What can you expect from us? If you feel any aspect of our service has been at fault we want to know about it and investigate. A complaint can be any dissatisfaction you, or other members of the public, experience about the standard of a service we provide.

How to give feedback

Please fill out our Customer feedback form (Word document). You can either save it electronically and email it back to us as an attachment to hq@lakedistrict.gov.uk or print it out and send it through the post to:

Lake District National Park Authority
Murley Moss
Oxenholme Road
Kendal LA9 7RL

Why can't I just email you my feedback?

In order to follow up a complaint fully, we need detail. We think it is more user-friendly to put these details into a form rather than listing these details individually next to an email address such as “please give us your name, details, how you wish to be contacted, what your comments relate to, what went well or not so well...”

A form also allows us to monitor all our complaints on the same basis as we have the same information from all the people that complain. We use the complaints we receive to improve the services we provide as part of our commitment to delivering excellent customer service.

Our complaints policy

1. Our definition of a complaint

We use the Local Government Ombudsman’s definition of a complaint:

“…an expression of dissatisfaction with the standard of service provided by the Authority, or with something the Authority or a member of its workforce may or may not have done…whether considered justified or not”.

A complaint may be made face to face, in writing, by email, by fax, or by telephone. We will aim to deal with all complaints within 15 working days.

2. Our objectives

We want to give people who make a complaint a fair, consistent and structured process that resolves problems in the delivery of our services. We will use the outcome of complaints and any remedial action as a positive method of monitoring performance and improving our services. We also want to provide a process that values diversity. We recognise and value all of the people who live in and visit the National Park. Our objective is to remove any barriers to our services including our complaints process to make sure everyone can access it.

3. Our aims

Our customers have a right to:

  • have their views heard
  • receive a good quality service
  • expect prompt action when our performance is below standard, balanced by the resources we have available.

Our staff, members and volunteers will be:

  • efficient and sensitive to the needs of people
  • accessible and clearly identified
  • aware of the day-to-day concerns of our people

Our procedure will:

  • deal with complaints impartially and objectively
  • be easy to access and widely advertised
  • advise people of the standard of service they should expect, a time limit for replying to their complaint and any right of appeal
  • provide a code of practice for handling complaints
  • ensure we monitor complaints
  • ensure we meet our standards
  • ensure confidentiality where necessary

4. Our policy

The complaints policy is based on a three stage process:

Stage 1: service area complaints

This is a system for handling complaints quickly at the point of service delivery, for example talking to a member of staff who will try to resolve the complaint there and then. If this is not possible we will send the person making the complaint an acknowledgement within two working days and a full reply within 15 working days.

Stage 2: service area reviews

If the person making the complaint is not satisfied with the response received at stage 1, the complaint can be escalated for the Team Leader or Head of Service to review the outcome of a stage 1 complaint.

Sometimes it is not possible to deal with an initial complaint within 15 working days or the person making the complaint may express their dissatisfaction in writing about the initial response. The service manager or the person responsible for dealing with complaints in the service area will take on responsibility for the complaint. They will investigate and reply to the person making the complaint in full within 15 working days.

At stage 2 we will acknowledge the complaint within two working days with a letter stating:

  • what will be done
  • how long before a reply will be given
  • who to contact about the complaint

Stage 3: directorate reviews

This stage is set in motion if:

  • the person making the complaint is not satisfied with the response received at stage 2

A Director will to review the outcome of the stage 2 complaint.

The director will receive and acknowledge the complaint. We will require the relevant service area to supply information so a response can be issued within 15 working days. It may be necessary to carry out an investigation, site visit, review files and records, interview members of staff and the person making the complaint and other actions.

We will keep the person who made the complaint informed about the final outcome in writing. We will also tell them of any right of further redress, for example taking the complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman

5. Vexatious complaints

We may at any stage of the complaints policy, review a complaint and give a decision, without a formal investigation, where a Director considers it to be deliberately repetitious or vexatious.

Vexatious means being without proper foundation or justification and intended to cause offence.

6. Extending time limits

If the complaint is complex, we may extend the time limit by a reasonable period agreed with the person making the complaint.

7. Special cases

We intend, wherever possible, to allow a complaint to be dealt with under this complaints procedure. There are however some exceptions:

  • an appeal against a planning decision.
  • a complaint where the customer has started legal proceedings or has made an insurance claim against the Authority; or where the Authority has started legal proceedings involving the customer
  • a complaint that has already been heard by a court or tribunal
  • a staff complaint about a Human Resources matter. This excludes staff making a complaint as a service user.
  • a complaint that a Member has breached the Member Code of Conduct - please read the Complaints procedure for dealing with complaints against members (Word document)
  • a complaint by a local authority or other statutory or public body

If for any reason we cannot deal with a complaint under this procedure, we will give an explanation with the acknowledgement of the complaint.

8. Remedies

The remedy needs to be proportionate to the injustice or detriment the person making the complaint has suffered as a result of the service failure. We will take account of the Guidance on Remedies issued by the Local Government Ombudsman.

In some circumstances the payment of financial compensation may be the only appropriate remedy. The Authority’s statutory Monitoring Officer has authority to approve a compensation payment where there is evidence of apparent maladministration.

9. Reporting

We aim to learn lessons from the complaints we receive and improve our performance and service. Where members of the public have shared their demographic details we will use this to analyse complaints. We will produce annual reports that analyse complaints by service area and type and subject of complaint and put forward actions to be taken in response to significant areas of concern.

10. Overall responsibility for the scheme

Our Director of Planning and Partnerships is the Authority’s Statutory  Monitoring Officer and will have overall responsibility for the operation of the Complaints Policy and Procedure.