Complaining to the Local Authority
With council tax, business rates (NNDR), unpaid parking charge notices (and congestion charges etc) it is important to note that the bailiff is instructed by the Local Authority (Council) and therefore; the bailiff is acting as their agent. It is precisely for this reason that if you have a complaint, it should be addressed to the enforcement agent and copied to the Local Authority.
Many local authorities will attempt to say that as the case has been passed to a bailiff that there is nothing that they can do and that all enquiries must instead be directed to the bailiff company. This is nonsense. The bailiff/enforcement agent is acting as an agent for the local authority and as such, the local authority are wholly responsible for all acts and omissions of their agents.
How to address your Complaint
If your complaint is of a serious nature it should be addressed to the Chief Executive and clearly marked as: Formal Complaint. This will not mean that the complaint will be read by the Chief Executive but it will ensure that your complaint will be registered as a “complaint” and almost always, will then be referred to a senior member of staff to resolve. If the complaint is not serious it should be addressed to the Head of Revenues (in the case of council tax debts).
If your complaint is rejected.
If the local authority reject a complaint they will state in their letter that the complaint has been considered as a Stage 1 Complaint and that if you are not satisfied with the response, that you can request for the complaint to be reconsidered as a Stage 2 Compliant. Your complaint will then be assigned to a different member of staff. If you do seek a review you will be required to outline the reasons why you are dissatisfied with the initial response.
If you are either considering making a formal complaint or wish to have the rejection of your complaint re-considered as a Stage 2 complaint, please feel free to contact us either by phone or by sending us a question.
If you are not satisfied with the response to your Complaint:
If you are not satisfied with the response to your Stage 2 complaint, you may then refer your complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman to consider. Please note that the LGO will very rarely consider a complaint unless it has first gone through the correct local authority complaints procedure.