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Comments, compliments, complaints to Christchurch and East Dorset Councils

We want to give you the best possible service. It is only by listening to your views that we can find out what we are doing well and what needs to improve.

What we ask you to do

  • treat us politely and with respect
  • tell us when things go wrong so that we can put them right


  • If you have an idea for improving services, or want to comment on what we do, we'd like to hear from you
  • if you would like us to respond to your comment, tell us

we will also tell you who is dealing with it and aim to provide a full response in under ten working days.


We are always delighted to hear that our staff are doing a great job and we are providing a good service. We make sure they know when someone is complimentary, as this motivates staff and makes their work even more satisfying.


In most cases, you will need to have complained to us within 12 months of becoming aware of the matter you refer to. If you are making a complaint, we will:

  • carry out enquiries independently and fairly
  • deal with your complaint as quickly and effectively as we can
  • maintain confidentiality
  • keep you informed of our progress

We aim to provide the best possible service but we know that sometimes things can go wrong. If you're not happy with the service you have received, please tell us so that we can, where possible, sort out the problem. Our complaints procedure does not replace any formal appeals procedures, such as:

  • review of homeless decisions
  • allocation of social housing
  • parking
  • planning
  • advice given about health and safety which you think is incorrect

Stage one

At this stage, we will endeavour to put things right as soon as possible, for example chase any outstanding correspondence. 

You can contact the service you are complaining about or the customer service officer. Stage one complaints will be dealt with by a team leader or  another member of the team.

Stage two

If you are not happy with the result at stage one, you can ask for a management investigation. The customer service officer who answers your call can help direct you to the partnership manager or you can write, e-mail or leave a message.

We will send you an acknowledgement within 48 hours of receiving your complaint and tell you who is looking into it. We aim to give you a full reply within ten working days at Stage 2.  If we can't finish our investigation in time, we will let you know.

Stage three

If you are still not happy with the partnership manager response at stage two, you can ask the relevant head of service or strategic director to look at your complaint.  They will independently review the previous decisions and decide if they were fair and reasonable. Again, we will aim to deal with your complaint within ten working days. If we can't complete it on time, we will let you know.

Taking your complaint further

If you feel we have treated you unfairly, you can complain to the Local Government Ombudsman, an independent authority which makes sure that all councils act fairly and follow their own policies and procedures.  They  will usually only consider your complaint following the review at stage 3.

Councillors and MPs

Your councillors and members of parliament are also here to help. You can contact them if you have a local issue that you want to bring to their attention.

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