How we handle your complaints

We aim to always give the best possible service, but sometimes we make mistakes and do not get it right. We pride ourselves on the way we treat you and help you with city council services. We will investigate any problems and, where possible, review our processes to help improve your experience.


We want you to feel confident that your issues will be dealt with promptly, patiently and courteously.

If your complaint is about the recent communication regarding the cyber incident in December 2021 Click here

What we can help with

A complaint is as expression of dissatisfaction about the council’s actions or lack of action and the standard of service received.

Our policy covers complaints about:

  • the standard of service we provide
  • the behaviour of our staff
  • any action or lack of action by staff affecting an individual or group

Our complaints policy does not cover:

The process

Stage One - Acknowledgement and Action

We will acknowledge your complaint and may contact you if we need to ask for more information.

We aim to respond to your complaint within 10 working days. Sometimes a complaint may be complex and could involve other council partners - you will be advised of the delay and will be told of the amended response date and proposed action taken. 

If you wish your complaint to be reviewed by someone not previously involved with the case, please specify at the time of reporting.

Once a response has been given, this stage is complete. 

Important - Following stage 1, if you're still not happy, you have 1 month from the date of the final response to request your complaint to be moved to stage 2.

Stage Two - Appeal

Complaints are investigated by a Senior Manager or Head of Service.

We aim to respond to your complaint within 10 working days. Sometimes a complaint may be complex and could involve other council partners - you will be advised of the delay and will be told of the amended response date and proposed action taken. 

Stage Three - Ombudsman

If you’ve been through our complaints process, received our final response and still aren’t satisfied, you can ask the Local Government Ombudsman to look at your complaint. 

If they accept your complaint, they will look at what happened and what we did about it. If they think we should have done more, they will ask us to put matters right. They will act as an impartial referee and you will not be charged for their service.

The following complaints are dealt with under separate policies


The issue of a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) is dealt with within the Traffic Management Act 2004. Following the decriminalisation of parking in the city, there are legal procedures that need to be followed when challenging a PCN. To complain against a PCN you will need to put your request in writing as instructed on the reverse of the PCN.

Social Housing Complaints

Complaints against social housing landlords are made to the Housing Ombudsman Service (HOS). The service is free, independent and impartial.

The HOS can only investigate a complaint once it has been taken through the landlord’s internal complaints process.

Freedom of Information (FOI)

This gives you the right to request information from any public authority. If you have received our response to you FOI request but you are not happy with the way you have been treated or the information provided, you may request an internal review, within two months of your response, or appeal to the Information Commissioners Office. 

Fraud and Corruption

The city council operates a mechanism for confidential reporting for fraud and corruption. Please see our anti-fraud and corruption policy (Part 5- Codes and Protocols of the Gloucester City Council Constitution).

The following services have a separate process for appeals

We cannot treat a complaint against a benefit decision, planning decision, parking fine or environmental crime penalty charge notice. 

Read about how to:

How to complain

You'll need to provide us with the following information:

  • your full name
  • contact details
  • what service you are complaining about
  • what happened, when it happened
  • any supporting documents or photos
  • what you want to happen to put things right

How to submit your complaint

Confidentiality and anonymity

We will not accept anonymous complaints.

We are fully committed to compliance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act Legislation.

The council will therefore aim to ensure that all employees, elected members, contractors, agents, consultants, or partners of the council who have access to any personal data held by or on behalf of the council, are fully aware of and abide by their duties and responsibilities under the Act. We will treat all customer information as confidential.

Names and addresses will not be published or disclosed outside the council or our partners.

Persistent and or vexatious complaints

See our Unacceptable Customer Behaviour policy that deals with persistent or vexatious complaints.