How can we help?

This page explains how you can make a complaint and tells you how our complaints procedure works.

There are exceptions. Some of our decisions, including planning matters, are made under legal provisions which provide you with a defined right of appeal. We will let you know if this is the case when we receive your complaint and inform you which organisation can deal with your appeal.

Northumberland National Park Authority is committed to providing a high standard of service to all of its customers. We always try to do the best we can with the resources we have available, but if you feel we have made a mistake with our dealings with you, we promise to investigate. The Authority recognises the importance of customer complaints and welcomes complaints as a valuable form of feedback about its services. The Authority is committed to using the information it receives to help drive forward improvements.

Further information

about our complaints procedure

Definition of a Complaint

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction, however made, about the standard of service, action or lack of action by the National Park Authority or its staff, affecting an individual or group. The complaint needs to be made within 1 year of you first becoming aware of the problem, unless there are good reasons for your delay in becoming first aware of the problem.

Read the Authority’s separate procedures for

Complaints regarding members of the Authority (PDF File) and for

Complaining about a breach of planning permission. (PDF File)

How to complain

In the first instance, a general complaint or comment should be taken up with the person or manager responsible for the service being complained about. This gives them the opportunity to consider the issue and make an appropriate response.

A general complaint or comment can be made in person, in writing, via email or over the phone.

We acknowledge, however, that there may be times when you wish to question or challenge a decision or procedure, or when you may feel that the standard of service is not what you would expect.

In these circumstances, we have a formal complaint procedure which should be followed.

A formal complaint should be made in writing to ensure the Authority has a clear and correct understanding of the issues involved and to avoid misinterpretation.

Complaints should be addressed to:

Corporate Support Office
Northumberland National Park Authority
Eastburn
South Park
Hexham
NE46 1BS

or via email: [email protected]

Stage One

The relevant Manager/Head of Department will investigate your complaint and report their findings to you in writing within 20 working days of receiving the complaint. If a delay is likely, you will be kept informed.

Stage Two

If you feel that this response has not dealt correctly with the points raised in your complaint, you can, within 28 days of receipt of a written response, ask the relevant Head of Department / Chief Executive to review the matter. This should be in writing and set out clearly which parts of the response you are not happy with, and the reasons why you disagree with the response. We would expect to respond within 20 working days.

The Head of Department / Chief Executive will have the option of referring complaints to the Authority’s Standards and Appeals Committee for confirmation of his/her findings. This may be done at any stage and may involve a delay beyond 20 days in the final response. If a delay is likely, you will be kept informed.

The Local Government Ombudsman

If you feel, after you have complained to the Authority, in line with the above procedures, that you are not happy with the way your complaint has been dealt with, you may wish to refer your complaint to:

The Local Government Ombudsman
PO Box 4771
Coventry
CV4 0EH

Tel No: 0300 0610614
On line form available at www.lgo.org.uk/making-a-complaint