The City Council aims to provide good-quality, cost effective services, but recognises that, at times, things can go wrong. If they do, we need to know so we can put them right and learn from them.

This page explains the procedures available to you if you consider that we have failed:

  • to provide a service
  • to be courteous
  • in our standard of work
  • in our administration of procedures
  • to adhere to our rules or regulations
  • to provide you with correct information
  • to treat you fairly and promptly

What should I do if I am unhappy with one of your services?

If you are unhappy with something the Council has done, you should write or speak to the relevant manager and tell him or her the problem. The manager will try to sort out any mistake or misunderstanding straight away. Sometimes it may take longer, but he or she will respond to your complaint within 10 working days of you contacting us. All complaints are dealt with discreetly.

The manager will also let you know if there is an alternative right of appeal. For example, there is a separate appeal procedure for parking fines which should be used if you think that a penalty notice has not been issued correctly.

This page contains a form, which you can use if you want to. If you need help doing this, you can ask a relative or friend to assist you. You can also ask a member of staff. Our reception staff will be pleased to help you identify who to contact. You can contact our customer service team by telephone on 01962 840 222 or by calling in at the City Offices in Winchester.

How to make a complaint

  1. You can use the online complaints form to send us your comments about any of our services.
  2. Alternatively, you can get in touch with us and let us know what you think in writing at City Offices, Colebrook St, Winchester, SO23 9LJ, or by telephone us on 01962 840 222.

We work hard to make sure you are happy with our services and appreciate you taking the time to contact us with your feedback.

What if I do not accept the explanation?

If you are unhappy with the manager's reply, you should contact the Head of the Service, if possible in writing, who will look into the matter on your behalf. If you are not sure which Head of Service to complain to then contact the reception staff and they will be pleased to help you.

What if I am still not satisfied?

If you are unhappy with the response from the Head of Service, you should write to the Chief Executive and ask him to deal with the matter. A member of his staff will investigate your complaint thoroughly and objectively.

Hopefully, the complaint will have been resolved to everyone's satisfaction long before this stage. However, if you still consider that your complaint has not been given correct consideration, then there are two further courses of action open to you.

Local Councillor(s)

You may involve your local Councillor(s) at any stage of the complaint procedure and seek their advice and guidance. If you wish, the Councillor(s) will handle the complaint on your behalf. Details of the Councillors and the Wards they represent can be obtained from the Committee Services Section at the City Offices on (01962) 848 264 or through the 'Members' page on this site.

There is a separate procedure to follow if you think that a local Councillor has acted incorrectly. If your complaint is about the way a local Councillor has acted, please use the link on the side of this page.

Local Government Ombudsman

The Local Government Ombudsman is an independent person, appointed by Her Majesty the Queen, who investigates allegations of maladministration and acts as an independent "referee" in disputes between individuals and their local Councils.

He investigates complaints that covers areas such as the Council:

  • took too long to do something
  • did not follow its own rules or the law
  • broke its promises
  • treated you unfairly
  • gave out wrong information
  • did not make a decision in the correct way
  • is doing something the wrong way
  • is doing something that it should not have done
  • is failing to do something that it should have done

The Ombudsman will NOT investigate a complaint from someone who simply does not like a particular Council decision. He will, however, look into the matter if it seems the Council did not follow fair and proper procedures in reaching a decision.

Copies of a booklet explaining how to complain to the Ombudsman are available from reception at the City Offices, Colebrook Street, Winchester or by telephoning 01962 840 222.

The Ombudsman that deals with Winchester City Council can be contacted at:

The Oaks No 2
Westwood Way
Westwood Business Park

Tel: 024 7669 5999
Fax: 024 7669 5902

The Local Government Ombudsman's website is at If you have an enquiry about the Ombudsman's service, you can telephone their advice line on 0845 602 1983.

Complaints about housing services where the Council is the landlord, such as repairs, internal transfers, rent arrears and general tenancy management, will be managed by the Housing Ombudsman.

The Local Government Ombudsman will continue to investigate complaints regarding allocations, homelessness and private sector housing.

Housing Ombudsman

The Housing Ombudsman Service deals with disputes between landlords and tenants in England. The service was established under the Housing Act 1996 with jurisdiction over more than 2,000 landlords. Under the Housing Act 1996, all housing associations (RSL’s) must belong to the service by law. This includes any landlord who has taken over the management of council housing, such as whg and WATMOS.

The Housing Ombudsman Service aim’s to provide a fair and effective way of dealing with complaints against member landlords from their tenants. The service, will try to remedy the situation by either asking the landlord to change their way of working or offering financial redress.

Visit the Housing Ombudsman website  for further information or email them at

Unreasonably Persistent Complainants and Unreasonable Complainant Behaviour Policy

In general, dealing with a complaint is a straightforward process, but in a minority of cases people pursue their complaints in a way that can impede the investigation of their complaint or can have significant resource implications for the authority.

This policy has been formulated to deal with the very small number of complainants whose frequency of contact with the authority, insoluble and persistent complaints, or unacceptable behaviour makes it necessary for special measures to be taken. You can read the policy in full here.