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Corporate Complaints Procedure

Complaints Handling

Aberdeen City Council is committed to providing high-quality customer services.

We value complaints and use information from them to help us improve our services.

If something goes wrong or you are dissatisfied with our services, please tell us. This leaflet describes our complaints procedure and how to make a complaint. It also tells you about our service standards and what you can expect from us.

What is a complaint?

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.

What can I complain about?

You can complain about things like:

  • delays in responding to your enquires and requests
  • failure to provide a service
  • our standard of service
  • council policy
  •  treatment by or attitude of a member of staff
  • our failure to follow proper procedure.

Your complaint may involve more than one council service or be about someone working on our behalf.

What can't I complain about?

There are some things we can't deal with through our complaints handling procedure. These include:

  • a routine first-time request for a service, for example, a first time request for a housing repair or action on anti social behaviour;
  • requests for compensation from the council;
  • things that are covered by a right of appeal. Here are some examples:
    • If you are dissatisfied with the level of priority you have been given when applying for a house, you have the right to appeal against the decision.
    • If your planning application is refused, you will have a right to request either an appeal to Scottish Ministers or a review by the planning authority's Local Review Body.
    • Which one depends on the circumstances of the application and the timescale for appeal or review will normally be explained in correspondence and the decision notice from the planning authority.
    • If you believe your house is incorrectly valued for council tax, you can appeal to the Assessor.
    • If you receive a parking penalty charge notice (PCN), you can contact to the Parking Appeals team.

If other procedures or rights of appeal can help you resolve your concerns, we will give information and advice to help you.

Who can complain?

Anyone can make a complaint to us, including the representative of someone who is dissatisfied with our service (a representative must provide within their communication to the council the full name and address of the person they represent, to enable a 'Consent to Disclosure of Personal Data' form to be issued for completion and return).  Please also read the section on 'Getting help to make your complaint'.

How do I complain?

You can complain in person at any of our offices, by phone, in writing or by email

You can speak to any member of staff about your complaint. Sometimes a complaint can be resolved quickly.

When complaining, tell us:

  • your full name, postal address, telephone number and email address if you have one;
  • as much as you can about the complaint;
  • what has gone wrong;
  • how you want us to resolve the matter..

How long do I have to make a complaint?

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, but no longer than 12 months after the event itself.

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 by contacting the complaints officer at the address given at the bottom of the page.

Our complaints procedure has two stages:

Stage one - Frontline Resolution

We aim to resolve complaints quickly and close to where we provided the service. This could mean an on-the-spot apology and explanation if something has clearly gone wrong, and immediate action to resolve the problem.

We will give you our decision at Stage 1 in five working days or less, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

If we can't resolve your complaint at this stage, we will explain why and tell you what you can do next. We might suggest that you take your complaint to Stage 2. You may choose to do this immediately or sometime after you get our initial decision.

Stage two - Investigation

Stage 2 deals with two types of complaint: those that have not been resolved at Stage 1 and those that are complex and require detailed investigation.

When using Stage 2 we will:

  • acknowledge receipt of your complaint within three working days;
  • give you a full response to the complaint as soon as possible and within 20 working days.

If we need further clarification we will call you to discuss your complaint. If we receive your complaint after 3pm or at the weekend or a public holiday, it will be logged from the following working day.   If our investigation will take longer than 20 working days, we will tell you. We will agree revised time limits with you and keep you updated on progress.

What if I'm still dissatisfied?

After we have fully investigated, 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 cannot normally look at:

  • a complaint that has not completed our complaints procedure (so please make sure it has done so before contacting the SPSO);
  • events that happened, or that you became aware of, more than a year ago;
  • a matter that has been or is being considered in court.

You can contact the SPSO:

Care complaints

If your complaint relates to a care service we provide, you can choose whether to complain to us or the Care Inspectorate. You can find out more about their complaints procedure, or make a complaint, by contacting them.

The Care Inspectorate has several offices around Scotland. Please refer to:

Social Work complaints

Social Work complaints are dealt with under a separate statutory procedure. Please see the Social Work Comment or Complain section of the website.

Complaints against councillors

Complaints against councillors should be referred to The Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland, or CESPLS for short.  Please visit their website for more information:

Complaints Against External Members

A complaint must be made in writing to the Head of Legal and Democratic Services. This may be by letter or by email to the following address:-

  • Head of Legal and Democratic Services
    Town House
    Broad Street
    AB10 1AQ

or email:

The complaint must clearly state what section of the Councillors' Code of Conduct the complainant believes has been breached, and when the alleged breach occurred. In no circumstances will an anonymous complaint be considered in terms of this procedure.

Getting help to make your complaint

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. 

If you wish your representative to be granted authority to act on your behalf, please email or call our Complaints messaging service on 01224 523058 to request a 'Consent to Disclosure of Personal Data' form providing your full name and address within your communication.

You can find out about advocates in your area by contacting the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance.

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 customers 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, contact:

  • Complaints
    HR and Customer Service
    Corporate Governance
    Aberdeen City Council
    First Floor
    Town House Extension
    Broad Street
    Aberdeen AB10 1FY
  • Telephone: 01224 523058
  • Email:


Other useful contact details

By telephone:

  • 03000 200 292

*03000 numbers are free to call in you have 'free minutes' included in your mobile call plan. Calls from BT landlines will be charged at the local call rate of 10.24p per minute (the same as 01224s). 

Face to face:

  • Marischal College Customer Service Centre
    Ground Floor
    Marischal College
    Broad Street
    AB10 1AB
    Opening Hours: Monday-Friday: 8:30am - 5pm 
  • Mastrick Access Point
    Spey Road
    Aberdeen AB16 6SH
    Opening hours: Monday - Friday: 8:30am-5pm.
  • Kincorth Access Point
    Provost Watt Drive
    Aberdeen AB12 5NA
    Opening Hours Monday: 8:30am - 7pm; Tuesday - Friday: 8:30am - 5pm; Saturday: 10am - 1pm
  • Woodside Access Point
    Marquis Road
    Aberdeen AB24 2QY
    Opening hours: Monday - Friday 8:30am - 5pm
  • Tillydrone Housing Office                                                                               Formartine Road                                                                                                         Aberdeen   AB24 2RW 
  • Social Work Services
    Complaints, Rights & Enquiries Team
    Social Care and Wellbeing
    Aberdeen City Council
    Business Hub 8
    First Floor North
    Marischal College
    Broad Street
    Aberdeen AB10 1AB
    Telephone: 01224 52 39 41