The value of proper complaints handling

The expression of a complaint by a member of the community provides an opportunity for Blue Mountains City Council to:

  • Improve its level of accountability to the community.
  • Obtain valuable feedback on its performance as an organisation.
  • demonstrate its commitment to customer service by professionally addressing the specific needs of the complainant.
  • Identify deficiencies in its current service delivery programmes.

What is a complaint?

A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction with BMCC's:

  • policies and procedures;
  • employees or agents;
  • fees and charges;
  • quality and range of services offered; or
  • the goods provided by Council.

A complaint is not a request for service or information. Nor is it an expression concerning the general direction and performance of Council or its elected representatives.

How can I make a complaint?

When a member of the community wishes to express dissatisfaction with a service or Council employee they should clearly state that they "wish to complain" or "make a complaint". Once recognised as a complaint, the matter will be treated by BMCC staff in accordance with this policy.

Preferably, members of the community wishing to make a complaint should do so in writing. This will assist Council in comprehensively responding to your complaint. To assist Council please provide details of:

  • relevant dates and times
  • a description of the incident or problem
  • any conversations and meetings you have had with involved parties
  • copies of relevant letters
  • an outline of the actions you would like taken in response to your complaint
  • any further information you think important
  • Council will also accept and respond to complaints lodged over the telephone or at its Katoomba and Springwood offices during normal working hours. Staff will assist you in the completion of the complaints form, if required. Please note that Council cannot deal with complaints under these particular guidelines if made anonymously.

What will BMCC do with my complaint?

In the first instance, your complaint will be recorded and the person taking your complaint, or responsible for responding to your letter, will attempt to resolve the matter with you directly. If, however, resolution cannot be reached your complaint will be reviewed or investigated by a more senior officer. If these avenues do not result in the resolution of the complaint the matter may be referred to Council's Executive Officer to assess whether proper process has been followed and you have been treated fairly. The resolution of your complaint may involve:

  • the provision of additional information;
  • the instituting of remedial action;
  • the provision of an apology; or
  • the commencement of dispute resolution procedures.
  • Whatever the outcome, Council will clearly indicate to you what it can do and what it cannot.

Members of the community are also advised that if having followed the process detailed above they are still not satisfied they may pursue their complaint with the NSW Ombudsman or NSW Department of Local Government.

You will not be charged to have your complaints heard by Council.

However, please note that requests for information made under the Freedom of Information Act may incur a fee.

When will I receive a response from my complaint?

Council will respond to all complaints lodged in accordance with its Service Aims which state:

"All written correspondence will be responded to by telephone, facsimile or mail within 15 working days of receipt. If the matter is complex and reply within that timeframe is not possible, we will contact you to tell you what action is being undertaken".

How will I be treated if I make a complaint?

Council values feedback from the community on its performance, including complaints. Council staff will assist you where necessary in lodging your complaint. Please recognise that an immediate response may not be possible and that Council staff may require further detail or clarification from you and may need to consult other Council employees. Also, while Council will endeavour to treat all complaints confidentially, due to statutory and other requirements confidentiality cannot be guaranteed.

At all times, Council staff will treat you in a respectful and professional manner. Please extend the same courtesy to our employees.

Council's address and phone number:

Katoomba Offices
2 Civic Place
KATOOMBA NSW 2780

Springwood Offices
104 Macquarie Road
SPRINGWOOD NSW 2777

Postal Address: Locked Bag 1005, Katoomba NSW 2780

Email Address: council@bmcc.nsw.gov.au

For telephone inquiries please call: (02) 4780 5000 or (02) 4723 5000 (from Linden to Lapstone)