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Tauranga City Council complaints procedure

We are committed to resolving any concerns you have in a fast, effective and professional way

All issues are taken seriously, whether raised formally or informally and we will worth with you to reach a resolution as soon as possible. 

However, if you are not happy with how we have handled your issue or the response provided, there is an escalation process you can use to make a formal complaint. 

What is a complaint?

When you are dissatisfied with any contact with us you may choose to lodge a complaint. This can include, but is not limited to:

  • a decision we have made, or have not made
  • giving wrong or misleading information
  • staff failing to meet a commitment they have made
  • an action we have taken (or not taken)
  • the way we have treated you
  • the standard of service we have provided to you. 

To help us manage your complaint, please provide the following information:

  • your first and last name
  • your phone number
  • a detailed description of your complaint
  • any council reference numbers you have that relate to the problem
  • the names of any council staff you have been dealing with
  • any letters, photographs or emails that are relevant to the problem.

You can use the form in the link below to advise us of your complaint, or you can phone us on 07 577 7000.

Feedback and complaints

Some comments through these channels might not be considered a complaint. In such cases, you will be referred to relevant information or staff who can help you. Every effort will be made to resolve an issue as quickly as possible.

What is not a complaint?

The following topics are considered service requests rather than formal complaints:

  • noise complaints
  • late or missed rubbish collections
  • transport-related issues (traffic, footpaths, potholes, streetlights)
  • reporting a problem. 

If you have a service request such as the ones above, you can:

Complaints principles

We follow certain principles when responding to a complaint. These are broken down into four key themes:

We aim to be accessible and responsive:

  • we want to make it easy for you to make a complaint 
  • we will acknowledge your complaint within three days and keep you updated on the progress of your complaint process
  • we will communicate in a way that is easy for you to understand.

We aim to be open and fair:

  • we will always treat you with respect 
  • complaints are dealt with in a clear and objective way
  • we will seek to understand from your perspective
  • we will ensure that information provided to you is accurate and up-to-date.

We aim to constantly improve:

  • we will ensure that any issues brought to our attention will be assessed on their own merits
  • we will use complaints as an opportunity to improve the way we operate
  • we will acknowledge where we have made a mistake and strive to put things right for you
  • we will continue to work with our staff to ensure they understand good processes and procedures for resolving complaints.

We manage complaints differently depending on how they come to us. They may be handled by:

  • our Customer Services team
  • the manager of the team that your complaint relates to
  • an independent team for more complex complaints 
  • an external party.

Step 1: Complaint handled by the Customer Services team

The first time a complaint is raised with us, it will follow a standard complaints management process. They will listen to your complaint, gather the facts and if we have got things wrong, fix them. 

Step 2: Complaint handled by the manager of a team

If your complaint has not resulted in an appropriate resolution or you have concerns about the way we have dealt with you, you can ask for a manager to look into your complaint.

Step 3: Escalation if not satisfied with how your complaint has been managed

If you are still not satisfied with the outcome, we may undertake a review. This process will be managed by an independent team. This generally happens when: 

  • a review of a complaint has been requested
  • the complaint is complex or has significant risk attached to it
  • there are a significant number of complaints about the same topic
  • a council employee (or former employee) wants to report wrongdoing to ensure integrity and accountability within the organisation. The Protected Disclosures Act 2000 (or “Whistle blowers” Act) protects employees who make such disclosures. 

The above process will help:

  • make sure you were treated fairly in your dealings with us by reviewing the circumstances around the issue or complaint
  • we will work with you to resolve the complaint to your satisfaction
  • with making changes that improve our future dealings between the public.

Step 4: Complaint handled by an external party

In some situations, it is important to take extra steps to ensure independence and impartiality. In such cases, we might refer your complaint to someone independent of council such as a lawyer for them to review. These costs will be borne by us.

If we can’t resolve your complaint

We will do everything we can to provide a reasonable and considered response to your complaint. However, if you still are not happy, you can contact the Office of the Ombudsman or seek private legal advice.

Timeframe

The management process and timeframe will be defined on a case-by-case basis. You can expect an acknowledgement of your complaint within three business days and we will keep you updated on how we are progressing with your complaint. 

Costs

All complaint investigations are free of charge. However, in some cases when a complaint might be considered a request under the Local Government and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA), we reserve the right to charge for this information if appropriate. Charges will not be made without consulting with you. You can find more information in our Charging Policy. You can find more information about LGOIMA on the TCC website below:

Official information requests

Complaints about staff or staff conduct

Complaints about staff conduct may be considered an employment matter and we will be required to meet our legal obligations as an employer. This could limit the information we can provide you.  If your complaint is about a contractor that council works with this will be passed on to that contractor's manager.

Unreasonable complainant conduct

In rare circumstances, we receive complaints that are unreasonable or involve unreasonable conduct on the part of the complainant that create health, safety, resource, or equity issues.

In such situations, the Unreasonable Complainant Conduct Policy may apply.

Unreasonable Complainant Conduct Policy (291kbpdf)

We do not tolerate any harmful actions, abuse or threats directed towards our staff. When this occurs, we may refuse to take any further action on a complaint or to have any further dealings with a complainant.

If the complainant’s conduct is criminal, it will be reported to the Police and legal action may be considered.

Additional complaint processes

Privacy complaints

If your complaint is regarding a privacy matter, you can contact our principal privacy officer:

The Principal Privacy Officer
Tauranga City Council
Private Bag 1202
Tauranga 3143

Protected disclosure or allegation of fraud

If you are a council employee (or former employee) and you want to report wrongdoing to ensure integrity and accountability within the organisation. The Protected Disclosures Act 2000 (or “Whistle blowers” Act) protects employees who make such disclosures.

More information

If you have questions, need clarification or want more information email: info@tauranga.govt.nz  

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