Harlow Council Complaints Procedure

Harlow Council has a complaints procedure to help customers get their needs met in a fast, courteous, fair and consistent manner. If you feel this has not been the case, the procedure aims to reach a resolution as quickly as possible. We take complaints seriously as they help us learn and enable us to improve our services. At all stages we will ask you to state the reasons why you are dissatisfied and how you feel the Council can put things right.

Harlow Council Complaints Policy (pdf)

How to complain

You should complain to Contact Harlow at every stage of the procedure by phone, letter, email, through our website or by calling in person. Please see contact details below.

Stage One - Service Manager

If you are unhappy with any service you have received from Harlow Council, you should complain to Contact Harlow who will pass your complaint to the manager of the service you originally dealt with. We will acknowledge your complaint within two working days - this applies to all stages of the procedure. The acknowledgement will give you a reference number, tell you when you can expect a full reply and who is dealing with the complaint.

You should get a full response within a maximum of 10 working days.

Stage Two - Head of Service

If within 28 days you are unhappy with our response at stage one, you should go back to Contact Harlow to start stage two of the procedure. Your complaint will be passed to the head of service to investigate. They have the authority to resolve most problems.

You should get a full response within a maximum of 10 working days.

Stage Three - Chief Executive

If you have been through the first two stages and feel you have not been dealt with fairly and adequately, you should approach Contact Harlow to start stage three (the final stage) of the procedure within 28 days. Your complaint will be sent to the Chief Executive to be reviewed. They may choose to look into it themselves, or appoint a senior manager to review the complaint on their behalf. They will decide whether to uphold your complaint and offer a final resolution or not uphold your complaint and write to tell you the reasons why.

You should get a full response within a maximum of 15 working days.

Extending time limits

In exceptional cases, we may extend the time limit to a reasonable time period and will write to you giving reasons why the timescale has been changed.

Further information

If we cannot resolve your complaint you can take it up with the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) or Housing Ombudsman as appropriate. They would expect people contacting them to have made use of the Council’s three-stage complaints procedure first, to get the problem resolved locally. We will advise you how to do this when you reach the end of our complaints procedure.

At any stage you may refer your complaint to your local Councillor or MP at their surgery, in writing or by phone. They may help resolve your complaint however complaints from Councillors and MP’s will be subject to the normal workings and timescales of the procedure. Details of how to contact your local Councillor or MP can be found on our website or by visiting Contact Harlow.

Getting help with complaints or appeals

If you would like someone to help with your complaint or to speak on your behalf at an appeal, please speak to a Customer Advisor who will be able to give you details of organisations that can help you. In the matter of housing cases, you may wish to appoint an advocate from the tenants and leaseholders group to help. For further details please speak to a Customer Advisor at Contact Harlow.

Useful addresses

Contact Harlow
Civic Centre,
The Water Gardens
Harlow, Essex
CM20 1WG

Tel: 01279 446655

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO)
Tel: 0300 061 0614

Housing Ombudsman
Tel: 0300 111 3000

Alternatively you can use our online complaints form