Complaints handling procedure for the customer
Lothian Valuation Joint Board (LVJB) is committed to providing high-quality customer services.
The Assessor and ERO is an independent statutory official who carries out his/her duties in relation to Rating Valuation, Council Tax and Electoral Registration in line with the appropriate statutory legislation and guidelines.
Separate and distinct appeal systems exist for disagreements regarding entries in the Valuation Roll, Council Tax List or Electoral Register. Appeals against entries in the Roll, List or Register will not therefore be dealt with as complaints as these must follow the legislative framework set out in the Acts, as undernoted in the section ‘What can’t I complain about’, below.
You can view our complaints handling procedure for the Customer below, or download a copy in PDF format.
(1). If something goes wrong or you are dissatisfied with our services, please tell us. This policy describes our complaints procedure and how to make a complaint. It also tells you about how we will handle your complaint and what you can expect from us.
(2). We regard a complaint as any expression of dissatisfaction about our action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by us or on our behalf.
(3). You can complain about things like:
• failure or refusal to provide a service
• inadequate quality or standard of service, or an unreasonable delay in providing a service
• dissatisfaction with one of our policies or its impact on the individual
• failure to properly apply law, procedure or guidance when delivering services
• failure to follow the appropriate administrative process
• conduct, treatment by or attitude of a member of staff; or
• disagreement with a decision, (except where there is a statutory procedure for challenging that decision, or an established appeals process followed throughout the sector).
(4). Your complaint may involve more than one LVJB service.
(5). There are some things we can’t deal with through our complaints handling procedure. These include:
• a routine first-time request for a service
• a request for compensation only
• issues that are in court or have already been heard by a court or a tribunal (if you decide to take legal action, you should let us know as the complaint cannot then be considered under this process)
• disagreement with a decision where there is a statutory procedure for challenging that decision (such as for freedom of information and subject access requests), or an established appeals process followed throughout the sector – such as Council Tax, Non-Domestic Rating and the Electoral Register.
• Formal complaints concerning valuations under the Valuation Acts
• Objections to inclusions in the Electoral Register
• a request for information under the Data Protection or Freedom of Information (Scotland) Acts
• a grievance by a staff member or a grievance relating to employment or staff recruitment
• a concern raised internally by a member of staff (which was not about a service they received, such as a whistleblowing concern)
• an attempt to reopen a previously concluded complaint or to have a complaint reconsidered where we have already given our final decision
• abuse or unsubstantiated allegations about our organisation or staff where such actions would be covered by our Unacceptable Actions Policy
(6). If other procedures or rights of appeal can help you resolve your concerns, we will give information and advice to help you.
(7). Anyone who receives, requests or is directly affected by our services can make a complaint to us. This includes the representative of someone who is dissatisfied with our service (for example, a relative, friend, advocate or adviser). If you are making a complaint on someone else’s behalf, you will normally need their written consent. Please also read the section below on Getting help to make your complaint.
(8). You can complain in person at our office, by telephone, in writing, by email or via our complaints form on our website. For more information, please see the Contact Details section below.
(9). It is easier for us to address complaints if you make them quickly and directly to the service concerned. So please talk to a member of our staff at the service you are complaining about. Then they can try to resolve the issue.
(10). When complaining, please tell us:
• your full name and contact details
• as much as you can about the complaint
• what has gone wrong; and
• what outcome you are seeking
(11). Normally, you must make your complaint within six months of:
• the event you want to complain about; or
• finding out that you have a reason to complain.
(12). In exceptional circumstances, we may be able to accept a complaint after the time limit. If you feel that the time limit should not apply to your complaint, please tell us why.
(13). We will always tell you who is dealing with your complaint. Our complaints procedure has two stages.
(14). We aim to respond to complaints quickly (where possible, when you first tell us about the issue). This could mean an on-the-spot apology and explanation if something has clearly gone wrong, or immediate action to resolve the problem.
(15). We will give you our decision at stage 1 in 5 working days or less, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
(16). If you are not satisfied with the response we give at this stage, we will tell you what you can do next. If you choose to, you can take your complaint to stage 2. You must normally ask us to consider your complaint at stage 2 either:
• within six months of the event you want to complain about or finding out that you have a reason to complain; or
• within two months of receiving your stage 1 response (if this is later).
(17). In exceptional circumstances, we may be able to accept a stage 2 complaint after the time limit. If you feel that the time limit should not apply to your complaint, please tell us why.
(18). Stage 2 deals with two types of complaint: those that have not been resolved at stage 1 and those that clearly require investigation, and so are handled directly at this stage. If you do not wish your complaint to be handled at stage 1, you can ask us to handle it at stage 2 instead.
(19). When using stage 2:
• we will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 3 working days
• we will confirm our understanding of the complaint we will investigate and what outcome you are looking for
• we will try to resolve your complaint where we can (in some cases we may suggest using an alternative complaint resolution approach, such as mediation); and
• where we cannot resolve your complaint, we will give you a full response as soon as possible, normally within 20 working days.
(20). If our investigation will take longer than 20 working days, we will tell you. We will tell you our revised time limits and keep you updated on progress.
(21). After we have given you our final decision, if you are still dissatisfied with our decision or the way we dealt with your complaint, you can ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) to look at it.
The SPSO are an independent organisation that investigates complaints. They are not an advocacy or support service (but there are other organisations who can help you with advocacy or support).
You can ask the SPSO to look at your complaint if:
• you have gone all the way through the LVJB’s complaints handling procedure
• it is less than 12 months after you became aware of the matter you want to complain about; and
• the matter has not been (and is not being) considered in court.
The SPSO will ask you to complete a complaint form and provide a copy of our final response to your complaint. You can do this online at www.spso.org.uk/complain/form or call them on Freephone 0800 377 7330.
You may wish to get independent support or advocacy to help you progress your complaint. See the section on Getting help to make your complaint below.
The SPSO’s contact details are:
99 McDonald Road
(if you would like to visit in person, you must make an appointment first)
(22). There are some complaints that have an alternative route for independent review. We will tell you how to seek independent review when we give you our final response on your complaint.
(23). We understand that you may be unable or reluctant to make a complaint yourself. We accept complaints from the representative of a person who is dissatisfied with our service. We can take complaints from a friend, relative, or an advocate, if you have given them your consent to complain for you.
(24). You can find out about advocates in your area by contacting the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance:
Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance
Telephone: 0131 510 9410
(25). You can find out about advisers in your area through Citizens Advice Scotland:
Citizens Advice Scotland
Website: http://www.cas.org.uk or check your phone book for your local citizens advice bureau.
(26). We are committed to making our service easy to use for all members of the community. In line with our statutory equalities duties, we will always ensure that reasonable adjustments are made to help you access and use our services. If you have trouble putting your complaint in writing, or want this information in another language or format, such as large font, or Braille please see section below for Our contact details.
(27). To make a complaint, please contact us by the following means:
In writing to:
The Governance Team
Lothian Valuation Joint Board
17A South Gyle Crescent
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone our Customer Services Team: 0131 344 2500
- Website: lothian-vjb.gov.uk
Or complete our Complaint form – download a copy in PDF format.
- Monday, Wednesday, Thursday between 9am and 4.30pm
- Tuesday between 9.30am and 4.30pm
- Friday from 9am until 3.30pm
Happy to Translate –
You can get this document on tape, in Braille, large print and in various other formats.
Please contact the Interpretation and Translation Service (ITS) on: 0131 242 8181
(and quote reference number 00088).
ITS can also give information on community language translations.