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Complaints procedure

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Your complaint will receive attention under one of the three stages of our complaints procedure listed below. You are encouraged to highlight your issue quickly to enable a speedy resolution.

If you are unhappy with the response you receive as a result of any investigation, please let us know and your complaint will be investigated at the next level.

Informal stage or more explanation

If you wish to discuss an issue or you simply wish to request an explanation for an action we have taken, please phone, write or e-mail us and request to be put in contact with the relevant individual or service directly; our officers will always try to resolve any concerns you may have  at this initial informal stage.

Please note: To avoid an unnecessary waste of our resources, the Authority may opt not to elevate some complaints to the formal stages of the process.  This may include complaints about the merits of a planning decision and other complaints which can be resolved by reasonable, alternative mechanisms. In all cases, we will fully explain our decisions.

Formal Stage

Stage 1

A Director will investigate your complaint and report their findings to you within 10 working days of us receiving you complaint. You will normally receive a letter explaining the findings of the investigation.

Stage 2

The Chief Executive (National Park Officer) will deal with the investigation of complaints which have already been considered at Stage 1, or are matters of such a serious nature that they warrant an investigation at this level. You will normally receive a response within 20 working days, to enable a more comprehensive investigation to take place if necessary.

The Chief Executive will have the option of referring complaints to the Finance, Risk, Audit and Standards Committee for confirmation of his findings, this may be done at any stage and will usually involve a delay in a final reply to the complainant.

Complaints about the Chief Executive

These complaints will be referred to the Chairman of the National Park Authority; he/she will arrange for an investigation to take place and then the matter will be considered by the Finance, Risk, Audit and Standards Committee.

Please note:

If we are unable to reply within these timescales you will be notified in writing. If appropriate a proposed solution to your complaint will be suggested.

Sometimes the Authority may decide to employ the services of a suitably qualified individual to help the officer investigate a complaint.

It is the policy of this Authority not to publish details of complaints or compliments. Information about your complaint or compliment will, however, be published in a confidential report to Members; a basic summary of their discussions in relation to this report will be made public.

Unreasonable complainant behaviour

The Authority values the feedback on our services that we receive through the complaints process and we are committed to dealing with all complaints fairly and impartially and to making our service as accessible as possible. In a minority of cases people pursue their complaint in a way that is unreasonable. They may behave unacceptably or be unreasonably persistent in their contacts and submission of information. This can hinder us in providing services and consume significant amounts of resource.

Local Government Ombudsman

If you are unhappy with the way the Authority has dealt with your complaint you may complain to the Local Government Ombudsman.

Further details are available on request from the National Park Office, at the Local Government Ombudsman website or you can telephone the Advice Line on 0845 6021983.

You are usually required to exhaust the Authority’s complaints procedure before referring the matter to the Ombudsman.

Occasionally you may be directed to the Ombudsman by the Authority before all the stages of the internal procedure have been exhausted. This will only be done where it is felt that nothing further will be achieved by dealing with the matter internally.

Useful information elsewhere

Local Government Ombudsman website - for the Local Government Ombudsman's Annual Review of the Authority