What is a complaint?

A complaint is any report of a problem with the service you are getting or trying to get from us, or a problem with things that we do or don't do.

What can I complain about?

You can make a complaint relating to the Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act.

You may feel you have been treated unfairly or unlawfully, for example because of your disability, gender, sexuality or race.

A racist incident is any incident that is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person.

Requests for service

First requests for a service (for example, when a housing repair is first reported) or requests for information, are not classed as complaints but they will be dealt with as quickly, politely and efficiently as possible.

You can use our online form to report a variety of problems, for example; issues with bins, overgrown trees, broken pavements, anti-social behaviour and lots more.

Complaints about councillors

From May 2008, if you want to make a complaint about the conduct of a councillor, you must write to the standards committee of the council concerned. The committee can only deal with complaints about the behaviour of a councillor. It should not deal with complaints about things that are not covered by the members' code of conduct.

Where should I make my complaint?

To enable us to deal with your complaint as quickly as possible you should direct your complaint to the local office or the place from which the service is provided. For example, this could be your local area housing office, the school concerned, social services team office, a neighbourhood office, library, Salford Community Leisure, Urban Vision or Salix Homes.

You may complete our complaints form if you wish.

Freedom of Information Act 2000

This complaints procedure is intended to cover all appeals or complaints received regarding inappropriate handling of Freedom of Information Act requests received by the council.

This will include timeliness, application of exemptions, application of public interest tests, failure to give advice and assistance and inappropriate disclosure of personal information (as defined under the Data Protection Act). Complaints about decisions on vexatious or repeated requests and about the application of fees will also be considered.

Procedure for appeals/complaints

This procedure will extend to complaints about non-disclosure of materials included in Salford City Council's publication scheme.

If you are not happy with a decision about a request made under the Freedom of Information Act, this will be considered a request for an internal review and will be dealt with under this procedure.

What if you want to submit a request for an internal review?

Send a letter or email to the council officer who dealt with your request for information.

Once your request for an internal review has been received, the officer will record it and the procedure detailed below will commence. You will receive an acknowledgement of your request for an internal review within five working days of it being received.

Within 20 working days you will receive another letter explaining the results of the investigation, or if the investigation is not completed, the likely timescale for its completion.

The procedure

If an initial decision is challenged by a requester the council's appropriate head of service will review the decision. This will be done with the council's monitoring officer and/or the council's Freedom of Information Act officer, provided these officers have not been involved in the initial decision.

Independent advice can be sought from the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities' freedom of information officer. The decision will ultimately be that of the head of service who must be prepared to defend and evidence the reasoning behind that decision.

Officers considering the internal review must consider the public interest in their decision-making.

This process must be independent of any initial decision taken and officers involved in the initial decision cannot be involved in the review process. They will however be required to submit evidence as to why the initial decision was taken. Where a head of service has been involved in the initial decision making process he or she may nominate another senior officer of the council to take his or her place.

The Information Commissioner

Customers who are not happy with the city council's internal appeals/complaints decision may ask the Information Commissioner to review the request and the way the council has dealt with it. The council will provide assistance and information to allow the Information Commissioner to make a decision.

Further advice and information, including a full list of exemptions and advice on the public interest test, is available from the Information Commissioner, or call 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545745.

Contact details

For advice and assistance please contact the city council's corporate information officer by email to infogovernance@salford.gov.uk.

Data Protection Act 1998

This complaints procedure is intended to cover all appeals or complaints received regarding inappropriate handling of subject access requests received by the council.

Procedure for appeals/complaints

This will include timeliness, application of exemptions and content of disclosure. Any expression of discontent with a decision made in relation to a subject access request made under The Data Protection Act 1998 will be considered an appeal/complaint and dealt with under this procedure.

What you should do if you wish to submit an appeal/complaint

The first step is, where practical, to talk about your concern to the member of staff who responded to your request. If you do not wish to do this, or are not satisfied that the matter has been resolved in this way, ask to see that person's manager. We hope that most appeals/complaints can be resolved to your satisfaction in this way.

At this stage we will treat this as an informal complaint. If the matter is still not resolved to your satisfaction, you can send a letter or complaints form to the council officer who dealt with your request for information. The appeals process will then commence. You may complete our comments/complaints form from this website or request for a form to be sent by post.

You will receive an acknowledgement of your appeal/complaint within five working days of it being received. Within 20 working days (unless otherwise stated by statute) you will receive another letter explaining the results of the investigation, or if the investigation is not completed, the likely timescale for its completion.

The Information Commissioner

Applicants who are not happy with the city council's internal appeals/complaints decision may ask the Information Commissioner to review the request and the way the council has dealt with it. The council will provide assistance and information to allow the Information Commissioner to form a view.

Applicants may go directly to the Information Commissioner, for complaints in relation to the handling of subject access requests if they so wish, bypassing this procedure.

Further advice and information, is available from the Information Commissioner - visit the Information Commissioner website, or call 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545745.

Salford City Council's information officer

For advice and assistance, please contact the city council's corporate information officer by email to infogovernance@salford.gov.uk

This page was last updated on 18 July 2017

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