Making a formal complaint

We appreciate your feedback and view it as an opportunity to learn and improve our services.

When to make a formal complaint 

You can make a formal complaint if you have concerns about:

  • Our action or lack of action
  • A decision we've made
  • The standard of service received from our staff or contractors.

What is not a formal complaint?

The following topics are considered service requests rather than formal complaints:

  • Noise complaints
  • Late or missed rubbish collections
  • Transport related issues (traffic, footpaths, potholes, streetlights)
  • Reporting a problem.

If you have a service request or want to make a formal complaint, contact us.

How to make a formal complaint

When making a formal complaint please include:

  • Your first and last name
  • Your contact phone number
  • A detailed description of your complaint
  • Any council reference numbers you have that relate to the problem
  • The names of any council staff you have been dealing with
  • Any letters, photographs or emails that are relevant to the problem.

You can send this information:

  • By online form​
  • By email -
  • By phone – 07 838 6699
  • By post – Private Bag 3010, Hamilton 3210
  • In person – at the Municipal Building, Garden Place, Hamilton
You can view our Customer Complaints Policy here.

What happens next?

We will resolve issues in a way that is timely, professional and courteous.

Our team will investigate your complaint thoroughly and impartially.

We will let you know that we have received your complaint within one working day and you will get a response in 10 working days.

We will contact you if we need more time or information to resolve the issue.

If you still have concerns

If you are not satisfied with our response to your complaint, we will take another look into your complaint.

Email us at to let us know you would like a review.

If we can't resolve the issue together

If we have completed a review and you still unhappy with the result, you can contact the Office of the Ombudsman.

They will impartially review the processes we have followed when dealing with your complaint.

Unreasonable Customer Conduct

When we work to resolve issues, we enter a relationship with you, based on mutual honesty and respect.

In rare circumstances, where a complainant (the person who makes the complaint) is not able to engage with us appropriately or reasonably, and where the nature or frequency of engagement raises substantial health, safety, resource or equity issues, we may need to apply the Unreasonable Customer Conduct Policy.

Mutual responsibilities

Complainants are responsible for:   

  • Treating staff of the Council with courtesy and respect
  • To the best of your ability, clearly identify the issues of your complaint, or asking for help from the Council to do so
  • To the best of your ability, provide the Council with all the relevant information available to them at the time of making the complaint
  • Being honest in all communications with the Council
  • Informing the Council of any other action they have taken in relation to their complaint
  • Cooperating with the staff who are assigned to assess/ investigate/resolve/determine or otherwise deal with their complaint.
  • If complainants do not meet their responsibilities, the Council may consider placing limitations or conditions on their ability to communicate with staff or access certain services.

Hamilton City Council has a zero-tolerance policy in relation to any harm, abuse or threats directed towards its staff. Any conduct of this kind may result in a refusal to take any further action on a complaint or to have further dealings with the complainant.  Any such conduct of a criminal nature will be reported to police and in certain cases legal action may also be considered.

Staff are responsible for:        

  • Providing reasonable assistance to complainants who need help to make a complaint and, where appropriate, during the complaint process
  • Dealing with all complaints, complainants and people or organisations the subject of a complaint professionally, fairly and impartially
  • Giving complainants or their advocates a reasonable opportunity to explain their complaint, subject to the circumstances of the case and the conduct of the complainant
  • Giving people or organisations the subject of complaint a reasonable opportunity to put their case during any investigation and before any final decision is made
  • Informing people or organisations the subject of investigation, at an appropriate time, about the substance of the allegations made against them and the substance of any proposed adverse comment or decision that they may need to answer or address
  • Keeping complainants informed of the actions taken and the outcome of their complaints
  • Giving complainants reasons that are clear and appropriate to their circumstances and adequately explaining the basis of any decisions that affect them
  • Treating complainants and any people the subject of complaint with courtesy and respect always and in all circumstances
  • Taking all reasonable and practical steps to ensure that complainants are not subjected to any detrimental action in reprisal for making their complaint
  • Giving adequate warning of the consequences of unacceptable behaviour.
Page reviewed: 20 Oct 2021 10:45am