Website maintenance - Thursday 18 July

We are carrying out some website maintenance on Thursday 18 July between 11am and 2pm. My Account and some online forms may be unavailable during this time. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

The resident experience is a key priority for all of us at Oldham Council. We are committed to listening and learning to understand and continually improve our performance.

We welcome and encourage your feedback and we use the information we receive to:

  • Improve the services we deliver to you
  • Say sorry and do our best to put it right
  • Understand when things have gone well and what we can learn from this
  • Understand what is important to you

Complaints

We are committed to making every Council service a good service and every experience for residents a good experience. However, sometimes, things do go wrong. If you feel something has gone wrong, we will ask you to speak to the service you have used directly as they are often best placed to resolve issues effectively.

If you have already discussed the matter with the service concerned and they have been unable to resolve the issue for you, the Complaints Team is happy to help. The Complaints Team can support you to make complaints regarding all Council services. The links below provide some useful information regarding some of the Council’s key services and how you can raise your concerns.

Many of our services are available online for you to use at a time and place that suits you. This is often the quickest way for you to get in touch.

Our Libraries have free Wi-fi and public access pcs. Find out more about how to get digital support including online skills and free tablet lending:

 

Missed collections

The quickest way to report a missed bin collection is via our online form. You can fill in the online form anytime:

Alternatively, if you do not have access to the internet, you can call 0161 770 6644.

If you have already reported the missed collection, and your bin has not been collected within 7 working days, you can contact the Complaints Team using our online feedback form:

When contacting the Complaints Team, please make sure you let us know the following information:

  • The date your bin was due to be collected
  • The colour of bin that was missed
  • Any photographs or other pieces of evidence that may support your complaint

Damaged/ broken bins

If you have found your bin to be damaged, this can be reported at via our online form

Replacement bins

If you cannot find your bin after it has been collected and think it may have been taken by someone else, we recommend that you wait until your next collection date to see if your bin is returned. If your bin has not been returned, you can request a replacement.

Brown, blue and green bins can be replaced free of charge. However, there is a charge for all replacement grey bins. There is also a charge for bins to be provided at new build properties. We have taken this decision to ensure we make fair and proportionate use of Council resources.

If you need to order a new or replacement bin, you can do so using our online form.

Anything else

If the problem you have experienced is not mentioned above, please contact the waste service for advice in the first instance at waste@oldham.gov.uk. Alternatively, if you do not have access to the internet, you can call 0161 770 6644.

If the waste service has been unable to resolve your concerns to your satisfaction, you can contact the Council’s Complaints Team for further advice. Please contact the Complaints Team using our online feedback form

Please note that if you cannot access online services, the Complaints Team offers a call back service which is available on 0161 770 8122. The team aims to return calls within 2 working days. So that we can make sure all contacts are dealt with as effectively and quickly as possible, we do ask that this telephone line is only used by those who are unable to use online services. 

 

The Highways service is responsible for maintaining a large number of pavements, , footpaths and roads  across the borough.

The quickest way to tell us about an issue on our roads and pavements  is to use our online forms to report any issues you would like the Council to look at.  

Our Highways service aims to respond to all reports of issues as quickly as possible but due to the nature of some of the problems that arise, such as flooding, some matters can take some time to investigate. To request an update on a highways issue you have previously reported, please email highways@oldham.gov.uk. Alternatively, you do not have access to the internet, you can call 0161 770 4325.

If you have already reported your concerns to the Highways service and its staff have been unable to resolve the issue for you, you can contact the Council’s Complaints Team for further advice. Please contact the Complaints Team using our online feedback form

Please note that if you cannot access online services, the Complaints Team offers a call back service which is available on 0161 770 8122. The team aims to return calls within 2 working days. So that we can make sure all contacts are dealt with as effectively and quickly as possible, we do ask that this telephone line is only used by those who are unable to use online services. 

Parking fines

If you have received a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN), and you wish to dispute it, you need to follow the appeals process that is in place. Please note that PCNs should not be disputed via the Council’s complaints process.

Information on how to appeal a ticket, can be found at:

Obstructions

The Council is not able take enforcement action where a vehicle is obstructing a highway or footway and there are no restrictions in place. Highway and footway obstructions need to be reported to Greater Manchester Police.

Anything else

If the problem you have experienced is not mentioned above, please contact the Parking Shop for advice at parkingshop@oldham.gov.uk.

If the Parking Shop has been unable to resolve your concerns to your satisfaction, you can contact the Council’s Complaints Team for further advice. Please contact the Complaints Team using our online feedback form

Please note that if you cannot access online services, the Complaints Team offers a call back service which is available on 0161 770 8122. The team aims to return calls within 2 working days. So that we can make sure all contacts are dealt with as effectively and quickly as possible, we do ask that this telephone line is only used by those who are unable to use online services.

Fly tipping

We treat fly-tipping very seriously and will take action against anyone caught fly-tipping.

Fly tipping can be reported at

You will receive email updates about the progress of your report if you provide your email address when completing the report form; you can also track your report through My Account

Noise nuisance/ pollution

For information about how to report a noise nuisance and complete a noise diary (before reporting a noise issue, you are asked to complete a nuisance diary which details what the problem is and when it is happening), please see:

Once you have made a report, an officer will contact you to inform you of the process and the timescales.  If you do need to contact the Environmental Health Team, you can do so by email at envhealth@oldham.gov.uk. Alternatively, if you do not have access to the internet, you can call 0161 770 2244.

Anything else

For other Environmental Health matters, such as food safety, health and safety, private water supplies, light nuisance, sewage, problems with the condition of a privately rented property, please email envhealth@oldham.gov.uk. Alternatively, if you do not have access to the internet, you can call 0161 770 2244.  

If Environmental Health has been unable to resolve your concerns to your satisfaction, you can contact the Council’s Complaints Team for further advice. Please contact the Complaints Team using our online feedback form:

Please note that if you cannot access online services, the Complaints Team offers a call back service which is available on 0161 770 8122. The team aims to return calls within 2 working days. So that we can make sure all contacts are dealt with as effectively and quickly as possible, we do ask that this telephone line is only used by those who are unable to use online services. 

Planning breaches

If you feel a property is in breach of planning control, this will be dealt with via the Council’s Planning Enforcement complaints process. Information on how to make a Planning Enforcement complaint can be found at:

Approval of planning applications

The Council’s complaints process cannot overturn a decision on an application that has been approved.  

If you submitted comments objecting to a planning application whilst the application was being considered, your comments will have been given due consideration as part of the consideration of the application, but the Council does not respond to each comment made on every application individually. 

The Council has to consider planning applications against a range of matters and issues and makes a balanced decision on the development proposal.  This sometimes means that, whilst you may have an objection to a proposal, the Council may still consider it appropriate to grant planning permission when considering and balancing all the matters and issues related to that proposal.   

There are no third-party rights of appeal through the planning system against a decision of a local planning authority. Therefore, if you have concerns about a planning application and permission is granted, you cannot appeal that decision.

However, you can challenge the lawfulness of a decision via Judicial Review. This is dealt with by the Administrative Court and can review the lawfulness of a decision, action or failure to act in relation to the exercise of a public function - in this case, a planning decision. If permission is granted to proceed, the Judicial Review will be decided by a judge at the High Court.

A Judicial Review has several restrictions and limitations:

  • An application for Judicial Review of a decision must be made within six weeks of the decision.
  • Leave to proceed with a Judicial Review will not be granted by the Court unless there is evidence that a legal mistake has been made. This could include where the local authority failed to consider opinions stated (this does not mean we have to agree with them), the procedure in dealing with the application was flawed, or a councillor failed to declare an interest.

A Judicial Review will not succeed if it is based solely on a difference of opinion and you will need to show that you have a clear interest in the decision that has been made.

Refusal of planning permission

If you have applied for planning permission and your application has been refused, you have a right of appeal against the decision, and your appeal will be considered by the Planning Inspectorate.  Guidance on making an appeal can be found at:

Please note that the Council’s complaints process cannot overturn such a decision.

Anything else

If the problem you have experienced is not mentioned above, please contact the Planning Service at planning@oldham.gov.uk in the first instance.

If the Planning has been unable to resolve your concerns to your satisfaction, you can contact the Council’s Complaints Team for further advice. Please contact the Complaints Team using our online feedback form:

Please note that if you cannot access online services, the Complaints Team offers a call back service which is available on 0161 770 8122. The team aims to return calls within 2 working days. So that we can make sure all contacts are dealt with as effectively and quickly as possible, we do ask that this telephone line is only used by those who are unable to use online services. 

Reporting a Change of Circumstance

The quickest and easiest way to report a change of circumstances that affects your Council Tax is through our online contact form at:

The Council Tax team will contact you if any further information is needed.

Struggling to pay Council Tax

You need to contact the Council Tax team immediately if you are having difficulties paying your Council Tax. We can check you are paying the right amount and may be able to help you by rescheduling your instalments. Whatever your situation, please do not ignore your bill.

You can contact the Council Tax Team if you have an enquiry about your Council Tax bill at council.tax@oldham.gov.uk. Alternatively, if you do not have access to the internet, you can call 0161 770 6622 (lines open 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday).

Council Tax Arrears

If the Council has taken enforcement action against you to recover money owed for your Council Tax (Council Tax arrears), and you need to make a payment  arrangement, please contact our Debt Recovery team at debt.recovery@oldham.gov.uk. Alternatively, if you do not have access to the internet, you can call 0161 770 4949.

Incorrect Council Tax Bill

You can appeal against about your council tax bill for the following reasons: 

  • the bills are being sent to the wrong person
  • the amount charged is wrong
  • your home should be exempt from charges
  • you should be entitled to a disabled person’s reduction

You can submit an appeal by contacting the Council Tax service

Please note that you cannot appeal because you think your Council Tax is too expensive, or you don't agree with what we're spending your Council Tax on.

The Council is not responsible for setting your Council Tax band, this is done independently by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). If you don’t agree with your Council Tax band, you will need to contact the VOA at:

Anything else

If the problem you have experienced is not mentioned above, please contact the Council Tax service at council.tax@oldham.gov.uk in the first instance.

If the Council Tax service has been unable to resolve your concerns to your satisfaction, you can contact the Council’s Complaints Team for further advice. Please contact the Complaints Team using our online feedback form:

Please note that if you cannot access online services, the Complaints Team offers a call back service which is available on 0161 770 8122. The team aims to return calls within 2 working days. So that we can make sure all contacts are dealt with as effectively and quickly as possible, we do ask that this telephone line is only used by those who are unable to use online services. 

Housing applications and bidding

If you have submitted an application, or have an enquiry about the housing register, we will always action this at the earliest opportunity but please note that currently, it may take up to 12 weeks for us to deal with your request. If you do require urgent assistance, and need to speak to a member of the Housing Allocations Team, please call us on 0161 770 4605 (please note that progress updates are not currently being provided via email).

If you have placed a bid and have not been contacted by the landlord of the property you have placed a bid for, this means that on this occasion, your bid has not been successful and you are advised to keep actively bidding. Currently, the demand for social housing is extremely high, and the number of social housing properties becoming available very low so we would therefore encourage you to consider all options when looking for somewhere new to live, including the private rented sector.

You can access private sector housing via some suggested websites, high street letting agents and in local newspapers, including:

If you need help to pay your rent, you may be able to apply for discretionary housing payments. For more information about how to apply, please visit:

Additional information about help and support that may be available to can also be found at www.oldham.gov.uk/wecanhelp and via the Shelter charity webpage.

If you do find yourself in a situation where you are at risk of homelessness, please contact the Homeless Team who will be able to provide you with appropriate advice and support.

Banding levels

If you do not agree with the housing banding level you have been allocated, you are able to appeal against the decision. Information on how to appeal this decision can be found in the outcome letter that was emailed to you when your application was made live. If your circumstances have changed since you first applied for housing, please update your details by logging into your application. If we require any further information to support your application, we will contact you.

Type of property offered

If you have been offered a property and wish to refuse it, you will firstly need to speak with the landlord that has made the offer. If you do refuse an offer of housing, a member of the Housing Options Team will contact you to discuss the refusal and an outcome letter will be sent to you.  If after receiving the outcome letter, you feel the decision is incorrect, then you can appeal the decision; details as to how to appeal the outcome will be included within the outcome letter sent to you.

Homelessness and temporary Accommodation

If you do not agree with the decision issued by your Homelessness Prevention Officer, you can request a review of the decision issued to you.  Details on how to make this request can be found within the decision letter that has been sent to you.  Any other queries can be raised with your housing officer directly.

Tenancy issues and repairs

The majority of social housing in Oldham is managed by other organisations, including First Choice Homes, The Guinness Partnership, Housing 21, Great Places and Jigsaw Homes. You will need to contact your landlord directly if you have any issues with your tenancy or need to request any repairs.

Although the majority of social housing is not managed by the Council, there are a small number of properties in the borough that are owned and managed by Oldham Council. The Council has a specific complaints policy for tenants of these properties; if you are a direct tenant of the Council, further information on how to complain, can be found at:

Anything else

If you have already spoken to Housing Options and they have been unable to resolve your concerns, you can speak to the Council’s Complaints Team. Please contact the Complaints Team using our online feedback form:

Please note that if you cannot access online services, the Complaints Team offers a call back service which is available on 0161 770 8122. The team aims to return calls within 2 working days. So that we can make sure all contacts are dealt with as effectively and quickly as possible, we do ask that this telephone line is only used by those who are unable to use online services. 

Private care arrangements

If you arrange and pay for your care privately, you will need to contact your care provider directly and inform them that you wish to complain.

If you are unhappy with the way in which your care provider has dealt with your complaint, you can ask the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman for advice. Information on care provider complaints can be found on the Ombudsman’s website.

Anything else

We always ask that you speak to the person you have been dealing with, or their manager, in the first instance. This is because most problems can be easily sorted out this way. If they are unable to resolve your concerns for you, or if you have any questions about the complaints process, you can contact the Council’s Complaints Team. Please contact the Complaints Team using our online feedback form:

We will aim to acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 3 working days. Before taking your complaint forward, we may ask you to clarify some details about your complaint or provide supporting evidence. You can either complain on your own behalf or with the help of someone else, such as a relative, carer, friend or advocate. We may need to seek consent from you to ensure you agree to the complaint being raised by someone else on your behalf.

Please note that we will usually only deal with complaints that have come to your attention in the last 12 months. If there are extenuating circumstances that mean you have been unable to raise the complaint sooner, we ask that you let us know at the earliest opportunity.

Once we have the information we need, we will ask a manager from with our Adult Social Care department to investigate your concerns and provide you with a written response. If you would rather receive a phone call or have a meeting to discuss the outcome of the manager’s investigation, please let us know.

We hope that the initial response to your complaint will resolve the issues for you but if you are unhappy with the initial response you receive to your complaint, you can contact the Complaints Team for further advice. If we do not feel there is anything further we can do to resolve your complaint for you, we will advise you of your right to contact the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman. You can contact the Ombudsman via their website or telephone:

Please note if you cannot access online services, the Complaints Team offers a call back service which is available on 0161 770 8122. The team aims to return calls within 2 working days. So that we can make sure all contacts are dealt with as effectively and quickly as possible, we do ask that this line is only used by those who are unable to make contact with us using online services. 

We always ask that you speak to the person you have been dealing with, or their manager, in the first instance, this is because most problems can be easily sorted out this way. If they are unable to resolve your concerns for you, or if you have any questions about the complaints process, the quickest way for you to contact the Complaints Team is via the online feedback form

You can either complain on your own behalf or with the help of someone else, such as a relative, carer, friend or advocate. We may need to seek consent from you to ensure you agree to the complaint being raised by someone else on your behalf. If you are a ‘Looked After Child’, and you would like some assistance in making a complaint, there is an independent advocacy service that you can contact if you want help and support in getting your point of view across. The independent advocacy service is run by Cuffe and Lacey and they can be contacted using the following details:

Depending on the nature of your complaint, it will be investigated either through the Council’s corporate complaints procedure or via the statutory complaints procedure. When we receive your complaint, we will look at the points you have raised to decide which process applies to the concerns you have raised.

Please note that we will usually only deal with complaints that have come to your attention in the last 12 months. If there are extenuating circumstances that mean you have been unable to raise the complaint sooner, we ask that you let us know at the earliest opportunity.

Before taking your complaint forward, we may ask you to clarify some details about your complaint or provide supporting evidence. Once we have the information we need, we will ask a manager from within our Children’s Social Care department to investigate your concerns and provide you with a written response. If you would rather receive a phone call or have a meeting to discuss the outcome of the manager’s investigation, please let us know.

We hope that the initial response to your complaint will resolve the issues for you but if you are unhappy with the initial response you receive to your complaint, you can contact the Complaints Team for further advice. If we do not feel there is anything further we can do to resolve your complaint for you, we will advise you of your right to contact the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman. You can contact the Ombudsman using their website:

Telephone: 0300 061 0614 Opening hours: Monday to Friday - 10am to 4pm (except public holidays)

Please note if you cannot access online services, the Complaints Team offers a call back service which is available on 0161 770 8122. The team aims to return calls within 2 working days. So that we can make sure all contacts are dealt with as effectively and quickly as possible, we do ask that this line is only used by those who are unable to make contact with us using online services. 

All schools have their own complaints process; if you wish to make a complaint about the actions of a school, you should contact the school directly in the first instance. Most complaints and concerns can be dealt with informally and resolved by speaking with the class teacher, the Head of Year, or by making an appointment to discuss your concerns with the Head Teacher.

If you are unable to resolve matters informally, then you are able to make a formal complaint via the school’s complaints procedure. A copy of the complaints procedure can often be found on the school’s website or a copy can be requested from the school’s reception.

If you are unhappy with the way in which the school has dealt with your complaint, you can contact either the Department for Education (maintained schools) or Education Skills and Funding Agency (academies and independent schools) for advice.

You are also able to contact Ofsted regarding any concerns about schools. Please note that Ofsted asks that you have completed all steps in the school's complaints procedure before contact is made.  Ofsted can be contacted in the following ways:

Although the majority of issues need to be raised with the school directly, there are some school complaint matters for which the Local Authority still retains responsibility; these include:

  • Some admissions to schools
  • Statutory assessments of Special Educational Needs (SEN)
  • School reorganisation proposals
  • Matters likely to require a Child Protection Investigation
  • Exclusion of children from school

If your concerns relate to the above issues, you can contact the Council’s Complaints Team for advice. In the first instance, you will be asked to speak to the relevant service to see if they can resolve your concerns informally. For example, if you have concerns regarding your child’s Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), the Council’s SEND service may be able to resolve the issues for you directly.

If you have contacted the relevant service and they have been unable to sort the problem out for you, you can contact the Council’s Complaints Team. Please contact the Complaints Team using our online feedback form:

Please note that if you cannot access online services, the Complaints Team offers a call back service which is available on 0161 770 8122. The team aims to return calls within 2 working days. So that we can make sure all contacts are dealt with as effectively and quickly as possible, we do ask that this telephone line is only used by those who are unable to use online services. 

Anything else

We always ask that you speak to the person you have been dealing with, or their manager, in the first instance. This is because most problems can be easily sorted out this way. If they are unable to resolve your concerns for you, or if you have any questions about the complaints process, you can contact the Council’s Complaints Team. Please contact the Complaints Team using our online feedback form:

We will aim to acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 3 working days. Before taking your complaint forward, we may ask you to clarify some details about your complaint or provide supporting evidence. You can either complain on your own behalf or with the help of someone else, such as a relative, carer, friend or advocate. We may need to seek consent from you to ensure you agree to the complaint being raised by someone else on your behalf.

Please note that we will usually only deal with complaints that have come to your attention in the last 12 months. If there are extenuating circumstances that mean you have been unable to raise the complaint sooner, we ask that you let us know at the earliest opportunity.

Once we have the information we need, we will ask a manager from with our Adult Social Care department to investigate your concerns and provide you with a written response. If you would rather receive a phone call or have a meeting to discuss the outcome of the manager’s investigation, please let us know.

We hope that the initial response to your complaint will resolve the issues for you but if you are unhappy with the initial response you receive to your complaint, you can contact the Complaints Team for further advice. If we do not feel there is anything further we can do to resolve your complaint for you, we will advise you of your right to contact the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman. You can contact the Ombudsman via their website:

Telephone: 0300 061 0614 Opening hours: Monday to Friday - 10am to 4pm (except public holidays)

Please note if you cannot access online services, the Complaints Team offers a call back service which is available on 0161 770 8122. The team aims to return calls within 2 working days. So that we can make sure all contacts are dealt with as effectively and quickly as possible, we do ask that this line is only used by those who are unable to make contact with us using online services.

Role of the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

We do hope to be able to resolve all complaints to residents’ satisfaction but we do recognise there are times where there may be a difference of opinion. Once the Council has considered your complaint and sent a final response to you, you can ask the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (the Ombudsman) to review your complaint. You usually have up to 12 months to do this, starting from the date you first knew about the matter you complained about. The Ombudsman will normally only consider complaints made within that time but can decide to look at older complaints if there is a good reason to do so.

The Ombudsman looks at individual complaints about councils, all adult social care providers (including care homes and home care agencies) and some other organisations providing local public services. It investigates matters fairly and impartially and is free to use. There are some matters the Ombudsman cannot or will not investigate. In these cases it will explain clearly the reason for its decision.

The Ombudsman’s contact details are:

  • Website: www.lgo.org.uk - Local Government Ombudsman website
  • Telephone: 0300 061 0614 Opening hours: Monday to Friday - 10am to 4pm (except public holidays)

Compliments

We also welcome positive feedback and will always ensure it is passed to the member of staff who dealt with you. We will also use the feedback you provide to see if there is an opportunity to role out good practice across other services.

The quickest way for you to contact the Complaints Team is via the online feedback form:

Unreasonable contact

We do what we can to make sure any problems are put right at the earliest opportunity and we ask that you are patient with staff whilst they look into any issues you have raised. We do recognise that it can be frustrating when something has gone wrong but we do not expect staff to tolerate behaviour that is abusive, offensive, or threatening and we will take action to protect staff from such situations.

We will not normally limit the contact that residents have with staff but where it is felt someone’s behaviour has become unreasonable, we will take action in line with our Unreasonable Behaviour Policy. A copy of this policy can be accessed via the following link:

Privacy notice