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Complaints, comments and feedback

We want to provide high quality services at all times - please see What can you expect from us?

If you want to tell us that you are happy with the service you have received, suggest ways in which we can improve or express dissatisfaction with the service you have received we want to know about it.

How to give feedback

You can send us an email or write us a letter or leave a message on our contact us form at the Lake District National Park.

Please send your email to: or write to us at:

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

We will use your comments to improve the services we provide as part of our commitment to delivering excellent customer service.

If you are dissatisfied with our service, we will investigate your complaint in accordance with our Complaints Policy.

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”.

Experience shows the importance of valuing and welcoming complaints as a way of putting things right and improving service delivery.

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.

A complaint will not be accepted if it is offensive, threatening, malicious or anonymous.

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 try to achieve an outcome that is satisfactory for those who make a complaint. 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
  • be offered a remedy in accordance with this Policy where the complaint is justified

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 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 two stage process:

Initial Complaint

This is a means of 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 stating a full reply will be sent within 15 working days.

Stage 1: Service Area Reviews by Line Managers or Team Leaders

If the person making the complaint is not satisfied with the outcome of their initial complaint, the complaint can be escalated for the Team Leader or Head of Service to review the 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 1 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 2: Service Reviews by Heads of Service

This stage is set in motion if:

  • the person making the complaint is not satisfied with the response received at Stage 1
  • the complaint requires the immediate attention of the Head of Service so is escalated to Stage 2

A Head of Service will review the outcome of the Stage 1 complaint. We must be very careful to ensure that Stages 1 and 2 are not reviewed by the same officer.

The Head of Service 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.

If the response at Stage 2 is not accepted the complainant may be referred to the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO). Complaints to the LGO are handled externally from the Authority, and the LGO will publish their response times. If we cannot resolve the matter at Stage 2 we must provide the person making the complaint the contact details for the LGO.

5. Vexatious complaints

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

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

Examples of vexatious complaints could include complaints which are:

  • Frivolous
  • Aimed at disrupting the work of an authority
  • Aimed at causing distress to individuals

Similarly we are not obliged to respond repeatedly to the same or a substantially similar complaint from the same person until a reasonable period has passed.

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
  • a complaint by a local authority or other statutory or public body
  • complaints about contractors or third party providers

The reason why these matters are not dealt with under this complaints procedure is because there are alternative mechanisms to deal with these complaints.

If you need guidance as to the correct process to follow please contact the Authority’s Solicitor.

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

The Solicitor, as the Authority’s Statutory Deputy Monitoring Officer, will have overall responsibility for the operation of the Complaints Policy and Procedure.

11. Equality

The Authority will handle all complaints fairly and honestly regardless of who makes a complaint. The Authority treats all members of the public equitably and will not show bias to any particular individual or group on the basis of age, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity.