Comments, compliments and complaints

Tower Hamlets is committed to giving 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. 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 while maintaining confidentiality and keeping you informed of progress. We want to reassure you that the service you get will not be affected if you raise concerns or make a complaint.

Whenever you contact us, we will always:

  • be polite and treat you with respect
  • give you honest and clear advice
  • make it clear what we can and cannot do
  • not pass you from one person to another
  • listen to your views
  • admit when things go wrong and do our best to put them right.

If you are making a complaint, we will also:

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

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 your complaint is about a member of staff, please put it in writing or complete the online complaints form.

General complaints

We will let you know we’ve received your complaint within 2 working days. We will also tell you who is dealing with it and when you can expect to receive a reply, if it is going to be longer than five days. We aim to provide a full response in less than 10 working days – and more quickly if the matter is really urgent.

Complete the online complaints form.

Our internal complaints procedure has three stages:

Stage 1

We hope to resolve all complaints at stage 1, and once we have looked into your complaint we will write to you with our response within 10 working days.

Stage 2

If you are not happy with the answer you received at stage 1, you can ask for a management investigation. We will acknowledgement the complaint within two days of receipt and tell you who is looking into it. We aim to give you a full reply within 20 working days at stage 2. If we can’t finish our investigation in time, we will let you know and tell you why.

Stage 3

If you are still not happy with our response at stage 2, you can ask for a final review. Just let the Corporate Complaints Team know that you want to do this and why. A Senior Officer will review the previous decisions and decide if they were fair and reasonable. Again, we will aim to deal with your complaint within 20 working days. If we can’t complete it on time, we will tell you why.


Our complaints procedure does not replace any formal appeals procedures, such as:

  • appeals about housing benefit awards
  • appeals about the outcome of a medical assessment for rehousing
  • appeals from homeless people about how suitable an offer of a permanent home is, and
  • appeals about parking
  • where there is a legal form of redress.

You can write to

Complaints
Town Hall
Mulberry Place
5 Clove Crescent
London E14 2BG.
Email: complaints@towerhamlets.gov.uk

For complaints regarding social care, you can write to Freepost Plus RRBZ-UCYT-ZLRX or phone us on Freephone 0800 374 176.

Staff in One Stop Shops can help you set down your views in writing. Alternatively, you can contact the Complaints Team on 020 7364 4161.

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.

If you wish to complain that the Mayor, a councillor or a co-opted member has failed to comply with the Code of Conduct for Members complete the conduct complaint form.

We can make reasonable adjustments to assist you if you have a disability that prevents you from completing the online form. Please let us know if this is the case by emailing monitoring.officer@towerhamlets.gov.uk or telephone the Monitoring Officer’s office on 020 7464 4801.

Complaints about the conduct of councillors are dealt with by the council’s Monitoring Officer. If you wish to complain that the Mayor, a councillor or a co-opted member of the authority has failed to comply with the Code of Conduct for Members you should complete the conduct complaint form. The form and more details can be found on the information about councillors page in the Code of Conduct for Members and declaration of interests section.

Complaints about children’s services

Use our online children's social care complaints form.

We can help you make your complaint if you are a young person in care or a care leaver. We will put you in touch with a children’s advocate who will help you have your say and get things sorted. If you are in care or a care leaver, you can contact Angie Treby at Action for Children, Tower Hamlets Children's Rights Service on:

Tel: 020 8221 8200
Email: Angie.Treby@childrenssociety.org.uk
Mobile: 07958 234 612

The Children’s Society
Stratford House
21-23 Broadway
Stratford
London
E15 4BQ

Education complaints

Complaints about a specific school should be made in the first instance directly to the Headteacher of the school, who should make every effort to resolve the matter. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, you can make your complaint known the chair of governors. If you are not  satisfied with the chair’s response, you can follow it up with a complaint direct to the Department for Education.

Department for Education
Castle View House
East Lane
Runcorn
Cheshire
WA7 2GJ

Tel: 0370 000 2288
Typetalk: 18001 0370 000 2288
Fax: 01928 738248

Phone lines are open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Education complaints that are not about specific schools for issues including:

  • Pupil’s admissions (but school appeals which are dealt with separately)
  • Special education needs (but not SEN appeals which are dealt with separately)
  • Early years services (such a children’s centres)
  • School buildings etc.

These can be submitted by filling in an online complaints form. You can upload and attach documents to the online form if needed.

Details of the council’s comments, compliments and complaints procedures can be found above.

Adult social care and health service complaints

Download the Tell us what you think brochure about adult social care and health service complaints.

For complaints you can use our online adult social care complaints form. If the service you wish to complain about involves a health service element, you can also

  1. Speak directly to the people providing services to you – this is often the best way of resolving any problems.
  2. Contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on Barts Health website
  3. Make a complaint on the Barts Health website.
  4. Contact the Complaints Department at Mile End Hospital;
    Freepost NAT48854
    London E1 4BR
    Freephone: 0800 137 524
    Email: complaintsmanager@thpct.nhs.uk 
  5. You can also go to Tower Hamlets NHS website or NHS choices on http://www.nhs.uk/

If you need help making a complaint you can contact The Independent Complaints Advocacy Service on 0845 120 3784 or contact a local advocacy group.

From 21 November 2016 the Government is introducing a new Code of Practice. This is a statutory requirement which specifies that all public sector workers in a customer facing role must be able to speak English fluently.

Complaints relating to the fluency duty can be considered under the council's Corporate Complaints Procedure. The fluency duty defines a legitimate complaint as "one about the standard of spoken English of a member of staff in a customer-facing role. It will be made by a member of the public or someone acting on his or her behalf complaining that the authority has not met the fluency duty".

However, the duty also states that "a complaint about a member of staff's accent, dialect, manner or tone of communication, origin or nationality would not be considered a legitimate complaint about the fluency duty". It should also be noted that the council are not obliged by the fluency duty to respond to complaints that are vexatious, oppressive, threatening, abusive, without foundation and/or which are intended to result in harsh or wrongful treatment of the staff member who is the subject of the complaint. In these types of circumstances a complaint will not be taken forward by the council.

Compliments

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

We have a staff recognition scheme, where you can put forward staff for an award. The forms for doing this are available in libraries, in Idea stores and in council offices.

Complete the online compliments form.

General comments

We will let you know we’ve received your comment within 2 working days. We will also tell you who is dealing with it and when you can expect to receive a reply, if it is going to be longer than five days. We aim to provide a full response in less than 10 working days – and more quickly if the matter is really urgent.

Complete the online comments form