Complaints

If you aren’t happy with a service that you have received from the Council then we want to know about it.

You can make a complaint to the Council if you think:

  • we did not deliver a service on time
  • we gave incorrect information
  • we wrongly or inconsistently applied a council policy
  • we failed to consult properly with, or listen to you on issues that affect you
  • you receive a poor quality or inappropriate service
  • you are unhappy with the actions or conduct of a member of staff.

The above list is not exhaustive.

You can provide us feedback via online form:

Tell us what you think

or by contacting us via phone or email.

You can also write to us at:

Corporate Complaints Manager,Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council,Town Hall,King William Street,BB1 7DY

Things we can't investigate under the policy

There are also matters we cannot deal with under the corporate complaints process, these are:

  • where a statutory right of appeal exists such as parking tickets, housing benefit or planning;
  • when you have received a court decision or there is a right of redress in law;
  • complaining about the conduct of a councillor - these complaints are dealt with by the standards committee.
  • school complaints - these should be addressed directly to the school. See below.
  • complaints about a healthcare service. See below

School complaints

Your first step should be to make a complaint directly to the school following its complaints procedure. If your complaint remains unresolved by the teaching staff or the head teacher, we anticipate that the complaint will go to the school’s governing body or trustees as part of the school complaints process. Details of how to complain to the school governors or trustees are available at the GOV.UK website. If you have already followed the school’s own complaints procedure or if there are reasons why you cannot use that procedure - for example, you feel your complaint has not been or will not be given a fair consideration due to a conflict of interest - you can forward your complaint to the Department for Education, using their online school complaints form.

Healthcare service complaints

If your complaint is about a GP, community nurse, occupational therapist or dentist, you will need to write to the primary care trust’s complaints manager on 01254 282131. You can also write to them at

Complaints Manager, Primary Care Trust, Guide Business Centre, School Lane, Blackburn, BB1 2QH

How to make a complaint

We will always try to deal with the problem as quickly as possible and to do this we ask you to please contact the service that you are unhappy with; they may be able to put things right there and then, or at least look into the issue and come back to you.

If you have tried this approach or don’t feel that it is appropriate to contact the service involved directly, you can ask for your complaint to be investigated formally.

The Council operates a 2 stage process when dealing with formal complaints which is in line with the corporate complaints policy.

During stage 1 of the process, your complaint will be passed to a complaints coordinator for the department concerned. They will ensure that a full investigation takes place and the service manager (or the head of that service) will give you a full response to your complaint.

All complaints are treated in the strictest of confidence.

We aim to acknowledge any complaints we receive within 3 working days and you should receive a full response to your complaint at this stage within 15 working days. If the complaint takes longer to investigate we will keep you informed.

If you are still dissatisfied

If you are not happy with your stage 1 response then you can request that your complaint be escalated for a corporate review at stage 2 of the complaints policy. This has to be requested within 28 days of your stage 1 response.

Sometimes it won’t be appropriate for a complaint to be reviewed again; for example, if the decision has been made due to legal reasons. If this is the case we will contact you to let you know.

If it is appropriate to proceed, a full impartial investigation will be carried out by the corporate complaints manager. They will provide recommendations for a resolution to the department concerned (as appropriate/necessary) as well as an outcome for you.

Your final response from the Council will be signed off by the chief executive or his nominated deputy, and you should expect a response within 30 working days.
Hopefully we will have been able to resolve your complaint by this stage, but if you remain unhappy, you can go to the Local Government Ombudsman who will carry out an independent investigation.

There is a separate leaflet available which sets out the details of the Ombudsman’s service ; the leaflet is available from all Council front desks and from the Local Government Ombudsman’s website.

Any complaint processed through the procedure will be dealt with in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 and Freedom of Information Act.​