St James St Library Campaign

guidance on complaining to the council

If you are not satisfied with the way the council is running library services (who is?!), you can formally complain to the Head of Department, You should make it clear in the header line that this is a formal complaint. Then they have to respond to it fully within 28 days (they must also acknowledge it within 5 days). You should cc the email to the official complaints address – (you can also use the online form, but i think this way is better).

If you like, you can also copy in (Clive Morton’s boss, the Head of Adult & Community Services), and also (the Councillor responsible for libraries) and the leader of the council, Clyde Loakes (

If you are not happy with the response you get, or if they don’t respond within the 28 day time limit, you can ‘escalate’ the response – send it to the Chief Executive, and copy to (copy in at least Clyde Loakes, at this stage, too). They must fully investigate and also have the power to award ‘goodwill payments’ if you have not been dealt with helpfully up to that stage. All complaints must also be logged. The council claims it only got 150 complaints last year – maybe cos it isn’t all that easy to find your way through their online complaints process.
It’s worth bearing in mind that you can also use the complaints procedure if you are not satisfied with how the council (officers / councillors) has responded (or ignored) to previous emails and questions you have sent them – their Customer Care Standards state that should respond to any email, within 10 days.

It’s not neccessary (a good complaint i think states the facts and adds in how it affects you personally) but if you can be bothered, quoting back at them any of the various ‘visions’ and ‘policies’ and ‘strategies’ that they are so fond of putting up on their website, in WFM magazine, etc, and how their actions have breached this, might make it harder for them to fob you off at the outset.

Never underestimate the value of persistence – and don’t forget to take a break, and have fun! (I’m off out to enjoy my friday night now…)


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