If you have a problem about a Council service please talk about it first to the person who provides your service.

Our aim is to deal with any complaints quickly and to your satisfaction. Your complaint will be taken seriously, no matter who you are or how you complain. Our staff can offer information and explain how the complaints procedure works. You can make your complaint in whatever way you prefer. If we need to have an interpreter to communicate with you, please do let us know.

Please note - complaints will not normally be accepted from complainants about matters that occurred more than 12 months earlier. In exceptional circumstances and where adequate reasons are given, a complaint will be accepted outside this timescale.

We would also like to hear your feedback on the services we provide or if you have a suggestion on how we can make improvements.  Your comments will be passed on to the services involved.

Contacting us: 

Email: complaints@cumberland.gov.uk

Email: compliments@cumberland.gov.uk

Online: Complete the online complaints form

Telephone: 01228 479770

If you are someone who receives a service from Cumberland Council, you or someone you choose to represent you, can make a comment, compliment or complaint about our work with you. You can do this by writing, emailing, telephoning, or speaking to the person who you receive your service from (or their Manager).

If you decide to make a comment, compliment or complaint about the services we provide, you can expect:

  • a prompt and speedy response
  • to be properly listened to
  • to be treated with courtesy and respect
  • confidentiality.

Any comments you make will not affect any current or future service you may receive from Cumberland Council.

How does the complaints procedure work?

There are three stages to the procedure and if you are not happy with the Council's response at any stage you can choose to take your complaint further. You can also withdraw your complaint at any stage. Complaining will not guarantee that you get new or alternative services but you will get an explanation about the lack of services or decisions made. Your complaint could help us to improve our services in the future.

Stage 1 - Local resolution/problem solving

Most complaints can be settled quite simply by discussing your problem with a member of staff on hand or at your local Cumbria County Council Children's Services office. You may prefer to write to us. We will aim to settle your complaint as quickly as possible, usually between 10 and 20 working days. If it is not possible to settle your complaint locally, or you remain dissatisfied with the answer you receive, you may want to take your complaint to Stage 2 of the procedure.

Stage 2 - Investigation stage

If your complaint can't be sorted out locally, you can request for it to be considered at Stage 2 with an Investigating Officer and Independent Person appointed to examine your complaint in detail. A complaint investigation can take between 25 and 65 working days.

Stage 3 - Review Panel

If you are not happy with the explanation or solution offered to you at Stage 2, you have the right to ask for your complaint to be considered again, this time by an Independent Review Panel. A Review Panel will be held within 30 working days of your request.

How do I make a complaint?

Useful Documents

You can make a complaint in whatever way you choose to any member of staff.  We also have a procedure explaining in more detail how to make a complaint and how we will deal with it, see the below leaflet 'Have your Say about Adult Social Care'. When we receive a complaint we will usually try to speak or meet with you to find out a bit more about it and we think we can deal with it.  We will put things right if we can, within an agreed timescale.  If we cannot resolve a complaint we will always provide a full and open explanation of our decisions or actions.

How do I make a complaint?

Useful Documents 

The Data Protection Act 1998, Freedom of Information Act 2000, and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 give you the right to request information from the Council. If you think we have wrongly withheld information, you can request an internal review.

You can request an internal review if the council has failed to:

  • provide the information you asked for
  • tell you whether or not we hold information
  • respond to your request within the applicable statutory time limit
  • give you proper advice and help
  • give information in the form in which you requested it
  • properly explain the reasons for refusing the request
  • correctly apply an exemption/exception - in other words, we have refused to disclose information for the wrong reason
  • provide an explanation of any applicable charges

There are three stages to this process:

  1. If you are dissatisfied with the way we have handled your request or wish us to reconsider our decision, you can ask the council to conduct an internal review by writing to the Information Governance Team at information.governance@cumberland.gov.uk .

  2. If you don't believe the Council has dealt with your review properly, you can contact the Information Commissioner's Office. You should do this as soon as possible, or within two months of the Council completing the internal review. The Information Commissioner will issue you with a decision.

  3. If you disagree with the Information Commissioner's decision, you can appeal to the Information Tribunal

Complaints about Council Members should be directed to the Council's Monitoring Officer:

Iolanda Puzio
Monitoring Officer
Corporate, Customer and Community Services 
Cumbria County Council
Cumbria House 
117 Botchergate

Email: monitoring.officer@cumberland.gov.uk

Protocol for Complaints about Elected or Co-opted Members of the Council (PDF 135KB)

Complaints Form: Elected and Co-opted Members of the Council (DOC 35KB)

Complaints Form: Elected and Co-opted Members of the Council (PDF 157KB)

If you have a complaint about a school, your first step must be to contact the school directly to see if it can be resolved informally.  If you are still dissatisfied then requesting a copy of the school's Complaints Procedure will help you to submit a formal complaint with the school.

Further information can be found in Concerns and complaints involving a school - information leaflet for parents (PDF 436KB).

If you are still not happy with the decision about your complaint, or you feel we have not answered within a reasonable timescale, you can complain to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman by writing to: 

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman
PO Box 4771
CV04 0EH
Telephone: 0300 061 0614

Online Form: Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman complaint form


If you think we are providing a really good service then please let us know that we have got things right.  We appreciate being told when we are doing things really well.

Comments and Concerns

We will listen carefully and fairly to all concerns and comments.  You do not have to make a formal complaint in order to get things changed.

How to make a compliment, comment or concern

Cumberland Council is committed to promoting equality of opportunity and diversity, and to challenging discrimination. Staff working for the Council have a right to undertake their work free from all types of discrimination, abuse and harassment. The Council has a duty to protect the safety and welfare of its staff.

Unreasonable Customer Policy (PDF 270KB)