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Coronavirus: Updates and information

We are adapting our services as the situation changes. For details and to find out how to get help or volunteer to help others, visit our 'Coronavirus: Help for communities' page. Please follow the official NHS and government advice.

Compliments, complaints and suggestions

It’s always nice to know when we get things right, but we also want to know when we get things wrong.

Please tell us if you have something to say about any of our services. We will tell our staff what you think and use the information to continue to improve our services.

Compliments and suggestions

We would like to know if we have done things well and to hear your suggestions:

We will tell our staff what you think and use the information to continue to improve our services.

Is it a complaint, or a service request?

Service requests and complaints are slightly different. A service request is a contact from a customer that brings a matter to the council's attention for the first time, and requests a service offered by the council, for example, reporting a missed bin or telling us about noise nuisance.

A complaint is a where the customer expresses dissatisfaction about the standard of a service, actions, or lack of actions by the council and its staff.

If you think your concern might be a service request, please contact the service in question by visiting our contact us page. If you aren't sure, you can call the customer service centre using the details at the bottom of this page.


If you need to complain about one of our services, we will do our best to put things right and make sure that the same thing doesn't happen again to you or to someone else.

When you first make a complaint we need to know your name, how we can contact you, the details of your complaint, what you want us to do to put things right and whether you have raised this issue with us before and who was dealing with it.

We aim to reply to all complaints within 10 working days. If we need longer, we will tell you why. We will also let you know who is dealing with your complaint.

Please try to resolve problems by raising them with the person you have been dealing with in the first instance.

Make a complaint

There are three stages to our complaints procedure:

  • Stage one: Complaints being made for the first time. We will aim to respond to your complaint within 10 working days. If your complaint is not dealt with to your satisfaction, you can ask for your complaint to be escalated to a head of service or senior manager (Stage 2 of our complaints procedure).
  • Stage two: Internal review by a head of service or senior manager. If you’re not happy with the stage two response, you can ask for the complaint to be referred to the Independent Complaints Investigator
  • Stage three: Independent review by the Independent Complaints Investigator.

Independent Complaints Investigator

If you are not happy with how we have dealt with your complaint at stage two, you can ask for the complaint to be referred to the Independent Complaints Investigator (ICI).

The ICI is not an employee of the council, but we pay them on a contract basis to investigate complaints. This ensures that the role can be independent of the our departments and your complaint will be investigated impartially.

You can escalate your complaint to the ICI by replying to your stage two case response.

You will receive an acknowledgement that your case has been referred to the ICI. The ICI will decide within seven working days of receiving your complaint whether it requires a full investigation. If your complaint has not been fully dealt with at stage one or stage two of our complaints process, the ICI will refer your complaint back to the relevant council service.

If the ICI decides that the complaint requires investigation, they will agree and confirm with you the key issues in your complaint that they will investigate.

As part of the investigation, the ICI will contact the relevant council service to gather relevant information and seek their views regarding your complaint. At the end of the investigation, the ICI will produce a report setting out the key issues from the complaint, the information and evidence that they have considered as part of the investigation, and their decision. This report will be sent to you and to the relevant council service.

The ICI’s report will say whether your complaint has been upheld (either fully or in part) or not upheld, and explain the reasons for this decision. If your complaint is upheld, the ICI might recommend steps that we could take to address your complaint.

You can complain to the local government ombudsman at any time, but they will usually only investigate your complaint after you have been through our complaints procedure.

Council tenants

Council tenants (and council leaseholders with a complaint about the council's management of their leasehold) can contact the new Housing Ombudsman rather than the Local Government Ombudsman. A complainant must first go fully through the council's complaints procedure, and 8 weeks after exhausting that procedure, they can take their complaint to the Housing Ombudsman at:

Complain about a councillor

If you wish to make a complaint about the conduct of a councillor, contact Tom Lewis, our monitoring officer.

  • Email
  • Phone 01223 457401
  • Write to: Tom Lewis, Monitoring Officer, Cambridge City Council, PO Box 700, Cambridge CB1 0JH

Complaint reports

Complaint policies

Unsatisfactory complaint responses

If your complaint is not dealt with to your satisfaction you should ask to speak to the staff member's manager.

If you're not happy with the manager's response you can ask for the complaint to be referred to the independent complaints investigator, who isn't part of the council; they will review how we've handled the complaint. Email