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Complaints

Cessnock City Council welcomes feedback and Complaints about our services, systems, practices, procedures, products and Complaint Handling. We aim to make sure that we handle Complaints fairly, efficiently and effectively.

What is a Complaint?

A Complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction made to or about Council, Council services, Council staff or the handing of a Complaint where a response is required. Under our Complaint Handling Policy, we will receive and treat the following as Complaints:

  • Failure to achieve specified standards of service;
  • Delay in responding;
  • Behaviour or attitude of employees;
  • A Council decision or policy; and/or
  • Withdrawal of reduction of service.

What is NOT a Complaint?

The following is NOT Complaints (these may be Service Requests):

  • Service Requests (unless there was no response to a previous Service Request):
    • Requests for approval, action, provision of services, works and assistance.
    • Routine enquiries about Council's business.
    • Reports of failure to comply with laws regulated by Council.
    • Reports concerning neighbours or neighbouring property (eg noise, barking dogs or unauthorised building works).
    • The lodgement of an appeal or objection in accordance with a standard procedure or policy eg objection to a development application, comments on a Policy on Exhibition.
  • a follow up or further Service Request that has not been completed by Council but is still within the timeframes advised to the Complainant;
  • enquiries or requests for clarification;
  • reports of hazards, faulty or damaged infrastructure such as potholes or fallen branches of Council trees;
  • comments or submissions received during formal consultation or community engagement;
  • petitions to Council about a certain matter;
  • requests for information/explanation of Council policies, decisions or procedures (unless there was no response to a previous request), and
  • appeals or objections regarding development applications.

If you wish to lodge a Service Request instead, please click HERE.

What happens if I make a Complaint?

If you are making a Complaint you will:

  • Receive an acknowledgement letter within 5 working days of making the complaint, outlining our Complaint Handling process;
  • Be listened to, treated with respect by staff and actively involved in the Complaint process where possible and appropriate and
  • Receive an outcome letter within 20 working days of making the complaint. Where the nature of the Complaint involves significant investigation or resources, we will communicate with the Complainant and provide them with an amended timeframe for outcome.
  • Provide with reason for our decisions and any options for remedy or review.

How do I make a Complaint?

You can make a Complaint by completing our FORM. Alternatively you can write to us or email us as per the details below, or you can lodge a complaint in person.

You should address your Complaint to the Public Officer

What happens if I am unhappy with the outcome of my Complaint?

We do our best to effectively handle all Complaints made to or about us however there are options for review both internally and externally to Council.

To ask for a review of the outcome of your Complaint, please complete this form. Requests for internal review are handled by Council's Public Officer or their delegate, will be acknowledged within 5 working days with an outcome letter to be provided within 20 working days from receipt of the Complaint.

The purpose of an internal review is not to determine a different response, but to check that all involved in determining the original decision have taken all the required steps when assessing and addressing the Complaint.

The external bodies you can contact regarding your Complaint are:

  • The OLG - 5 O'Keeffe Avenue, NOWRA NSW 2541, tel: 02 4428 4100, email: olg@olg.nsw.gov.au ;
  • The NSW Ombudsman - Level 24, 580 George Street, SYDNEY NSW 2000, tel: 02 9286 1000, email: nswombo@ombo.nsw.gov.au .
  • The ICAC - Level 7, 255 Elizabeth Street, SYDNEY NSW 2000, tel: 02 8281 5999.

To read more about our Complaint handling process, please refer to our Complaint Handling Policy.