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Comments and Complaints

We are committed to delivering high quality services to our customers and we work hard to get it right. If you have a comment or complaint, we want to hear from you.


Will my complaint or comment make a difference?

Yes. It gives us the opportunity to put things right and review the way we do things in the future.

How do I make a complaint or comment?

You can make a complaint or comment in any of the following ways:

If you would like to make a formal complaint please complete the  make a formal complaint form.

Telephone us on 01803 861234

Write to us or visit us:

South Hams District Council, Follaton House, Plymouth Road, Totnes, TQ9 5NE

What can I complain about?

  • there has been a delay in providing a service
  • we have made a mistake in the way we have provided a service
  • we have failed to deliver a service - this could relate to quality, standard or service level
  • we have not listened properly
  • our processes or policies have not been followed
  • our legal or regulatory requirements have not been met
  • we have not delivered against a commitment or promise
  • our staff have not been helpful or have not conducted themselves correctly

Is there anything I am unable to complain about?

If you want to appeal a decision made by the council, these are dealt with in a different way. These include decisions about planning applications, benefit applications and parking tickets. In these instances we will give you details on how to make your appeal.

How can I complain about the conduct of a local councillor?

For complaints about District, Parish or Town Councillors please see our (link to be inserted).

Our guiding principles

We will:

  • acknowledge your complaint within 5 working days
  • give you a full written response from a Senior Officer within a further 30 consecutive days
  • if we need more time to investigate the complaint we will contact you to let you know and explain why
  • treat all complaints seriously, with an honest and open mind, and do everything we can to deal with them efficiently and effectively
  • apologise if we have done something wrong
  • put things right and make improvements for the future
  • provide an explanation if we believe your complaint is not justified
  • carefully consider your comments and suggestions
  • use complaints information in a positive way to identify training requirements, improve processes, and share learning when appropriate to prevent similar occurrences in the future

What if I am still unhappy?

If you are not happy with the response to your complaint, you can ask for your complaint to be reviewed by a senior officer from a different part of the organisation to the officer who dealt with your original complaint. We will acknowledge your request within 5 working days and give you a full written response within a further 30 consecutive days. If we need more time to investigate the complaint we will contact you to let you know.

If you are not happy with the review of your response, you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will not normally look into your complaint if the Council has not had the opportunity to resolve it through the Council's own complaints process first.

The Ombudsman's Office has an advice team which accepts complaints by telephone, text, via their website and in writing.

Telephone: 0300 061 0614

Text: "callback" to 07624 803014


Post: The Local Government Ombudsman, PO Box 4771, Coventry, CV4 0EH

Complaints Policy

A copy of our Complaints Policy can be downloaded here  Icon for pdf Complaints Policy and Procedure [983.02Kb] .