Complaints, compliments and enquiries

At the London Borough of Bexley we want to provide our residents, businesses and visitors with good quality, value for money services delivered in a helpful and efficient way.

We take a positive approach to complaints and value them as an important form of feedback on our services. We aim to learn from feedback and use the lessons learned as a means to continuously improve and review the services we offer and respond positively to customers’ needs and expectations.

We take all feedback seriously, so whether it's a complaint, compliment or enquiry, please use the compliments, complaints and enquiries form to tell us about it.

What is a complaint?

We define a complaint as “An expression of dissatisfaction with our services which requires a response”.

Who can make a complaint?

  • anyone who uses or is affected by our services
  • a representative acting on behalf of the person affected

How can I make a complaint?

Whilst we accept complaints through any of the above methods, we encourage you to provide specific information about the complaint so we can understand what went wrong and how it can be put right.

How will my complaint be dealt with?

Most complaints will be dealt with under the Bexley Corporate Complaints Procedure (PDF, 474KB). However, some social care complaints are dealt with under statutory complaints procedures.

There are two stages to the Bexley Corporate Complaints Procedure.

Stage 1 - Investigation

At Stage 1, the complaint will be investigated by the relevant Service Manager, who will liaise with the officers and contractors for the service. We aim to acknowledge a Stage 1 complaint within two working days of receipt and to provide a written response within 15 working days.

Stage 2 - Review

If you remain dissatisfied following receipt of the Stage 1 response, you can ask for your complaint to be progressed to a review at Stage 2. The request for a review of a complaint should be made within 20 working days from receipt of the Stage 1 response. We expect you to explain why the initial Stage 1 response has not resolved your complaint and what outcome you require as a resolution to your complaint. We aim to acknowledge a Stage 2 complaint within two working days of receipt.

At Stage 2, a Senior Manager will complete a thorough review of the complaint and the previous Stage 1 response and will aim to provide a written response within 15 working days.

Local Government Ombudsman

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint once it has completed Bexley’s Corporate Complaints Procedure, you can ask the Local Government Ombudsman to consider your complaint.

The Ombudsman is an independent body that exists to review complaints made to local authorities where the matter has not been resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction. The Ombudsman provides a free service.

You can approach the Ombudsman at any time during the complaints process for advice and assistance. However, the Ombudsman will not normally look into a complaint if the Council has not had an opportunity to resolve it through the Bexley Corporate Complaints Procedure.

Bexley's Corporate Complaints Procedure
Stage Timescale (working days) Responsibility for response
Investigation (Stage 1) 15 Service Manager
Review (Stage 2) 15 Senior Manager
Local Government Ombudsman Directed by LGO LGO

Children’s Social Care Statutory Complaints Procedure

For Children’s Social Care complaints relating to the Council’s specified social care responsibilities as set out in the Children Act 1989, we are required to follow the Children’s Statutory Complaints Procedure, which can be accessed in the following document The Children Act 1989 Representations Procedure (England) Regulations 2006 (PDF, 78KB).

Further information can be found in the following documents:

The Children’s Social Care Statutory Complaints Procedure has three stages:

Stage 1 - Internal Investigation

At Stage 1, the complaint will be investigated by the relevant Service Manager, who will liaise with the officers and contractors for the service. We aim to acknowledge a Stage 1 complaint within two working days of receipt and to provide a written response within 10 working days.

Stage 2 - Independent Investigation

If you remain dissatisfied following receipt of the Stage 1 response, you can ask for your complaint to be progressed to a review at Stage 2 of the statutory procedure. A request for a Stage 2 review should be made within 20 working days from receipt of the Stage 1 response. We expect you to explain why the initial Stage 1 response has not resolved your complaint and what outcome you require as a resolution to your complaint. We aim to acknowledge a Stage 2 complaint within two working days of receipt.

A Stage 2 investigation is conducted by an Investigating Officer (IO) and an Independent Person (IP) who oversees the fairness and transparency of the investigation process. The IO and IP will look into the complaint and produce a report, following their investigation, which will make findings and identify any recommendations to resolve the complaint. After considering the findings and recommendations of the investigation team, a Senior Manager will provide a written response to the complainant setting out the findings and conclusions. The timescale for responding to a Stage 2 complaint is between 25 and 65 working days, depending on the complexity of the complaint.

Stage 3 - Review Panel

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of Stage 2, you can request that your complaint is progressed to a review panel at Stage 3. The review panel consists of three independent people who consider the complaint and makes recommendations to the Director of Children’s Services.

The review panel will produce a report of its findings and recommendations and will aim to send this to you and the Council within five working days.

The Council will review the report and will aim to provide you with its final Stage 3 response within 15 working days of receiving the review panel’s report.

Local Government Ombudsman

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint once it has completed the complaints process, you can ask the Local Government Ombudsman to consider your complaint.

Children's Social Care Statutory Complaints Procedure
Stage Timescale (working days) Responsibility for Response
Internal investigation (Stage 1) 10 Service Manager
Independent investigation (Stage 2) 25 - 65 Investigating Officer and Independent Person
Review Panel (Stage 3) 5 (for report production) The Review Panel
Director's decision 15 (final decision) Director of Children's Services
Local Government Ombudsman Directed by LGO LGO

Adults’ Social Care Statutory Complaints Procedure

There is a separate statutory complaints procedure for Adults’ Social Care, which consists of only one stage.

For complaints relating to the core Adults’ Social Care functions, we follow the Adults’ Social Care Statutory Complaints procedure, which can be accessed in the following document The Local Authority Social Services and National Health Service Complaints (England) Regulations 2009 (PDF, 101KB).

We aim to acknowledge your complaint within two workings days of receipt. The Head of Service will investigate the complaint and will aim to provide you with a response within 30 working days.

Further information can be found in the following documents:

Local Government Ombudsman

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint once it has completed the complaints process, you can ask the Local Government Ombudsman to consider your complaint.

Adult's Social Care Statutory Complaints Procedure
Stage Timescale (working days) Responsibility for Response
Investigation (Stage 1) 30 Service Manager
Local Government Ombudsman Directed by LGO LGO

Service Requests

Many routine matters can be dealt with as service requests. Once we are aware of a service request, it can quickly be routed to the correct team for action.

Examples of service requests include:

Appeals, tribunals and other matters

For some services there is an alternative process in place which must be followed rather than the Bexley Corporate Complaints Procedure.

Services for which there are alternative statutory appeal or tribunal processes, include:

  • appeals against the refusal of planning permission or planning enforcement
  • appeals against statutory notices
  • parking appeals
  • school admission or exclusion appeals
  • special Educational Needs (SEN) Tribunals
  • housing benefit appeals
  • homelessness decisions

Complaints about registered housing providers

Registered housing providers have their own complaint procedures. You will therefore need to contact your Landlord or Housing Association directly regarding your complaint.

Complaints about schools and colleges

Schools and colleges have their own complaint procedures. Complaints about a school or a member of school staff should be made to the Head teacher and then to the school's Governing Body.

Complaints against Councillors

Bexley Councillors are required to comply with the Council’s Members’ Code of Conduct (PDF, 96KB). If you believe that a councillor has breached the Members’ Code of Conduct and would like to make a complaint, please write to the Council's Monitoring Officer, either:

We will deal with anonymous complaints on an individual basis and determine whether further action is appropriate.

The action the Council takes will be dependent upon the substance of the matter and the amount of information provided (or otherwise available). This means:

  • we will look into any matters involving vulnerable people or children, and other matters of serious concern as appropriate
  • where we do not have sufficient information, we will keep a record of the complaint as related issues may arise later
  • that in some cases we will not be able to investigate an anonymous complaint because of a lack of information or substance

This approach to anonymous complaints is in line with the expectations of the Local Government Ombudsman.

We aim to ensure that we have given you the opportunity to express your views and opinions. We will listen and give appropriate thought and effort to resolving and explaining the Council’s position and actions. However, occasionally we encounter individuals who demonstrate unreasonable behaviour, which can result in unnecessarily excessive demands on the Council’s time and resources.

We have a separate procedure to ensure unreasonable or vexatious complaints are dealt with appropriately. Further information is available in our full procedure document Procedure for Unreasonable Customer Behaviour and Vexatious Requests (PDF, 1MB).