City Hall
Customer Service Policy Procedure and Appeal

Purpose

The City of Castlegar seeks to maximize service to our customers. Through this Administrative Fairness policy, a mechanism is established to provide for appropriate and timely review of decisions and recommendations. It is important to the City to have this policy as part of quality assurance and good service to the public. A copy of this policy will be provided to members of the public upon request. Any member of the public who questions the manner in which a decision may be reviewed should also be provided with a copy of this policy in addition to any other relevant information.


Application

The Administrative Fairness policy applies to all staff and those non-Council committees and commissions which have decision making and/or recommendation responsibilities to Council. Excluded from this policy are those functions for which there is either a statutorily prescribed appeal process or prohibition to local review of the decision, such as the Board of Variance, and Subdivision Approving Officer authority. Also excluded from this policy are those functions which are outside the jurisdiction of local government. The Freedom of Information and Privacy Act may have a potential effect on this policy.


Procedure

Administrative procedure for handling complaints regarding administrative practices, processes and procedures:

  1. Receipt of Complaint

    • Informal Complaint

      Where a public complaint (either verbal or written) is made against a staff decision and cannot be resolved by the decision maker, the complainant should be directed to the supervisor of the person or department from which the complaint has been generated. The supervisor will attempt to resolve the matter in consultation with the decision maker and the complainant. If it cannot be resolved, the complaint should be formalized. The complaint shall remain confidential as well as the complainant's identity.

      Where a complaint is made against a decision of a committee or commission, the complainant should be direct to the Chief Administrative Officer who will attempt to resolve the matter in consultation with the chair of the appropriate body and the complainant.

    • Formal Complaint

      The complaint should be in writing to the Chief Administrative Officer and be signed by the complainant. The complaint may be on a form provided by the City or in another written form and must state the nature of the complaint and the name, address and telephone number of the complainant. The complaint shall remain confidential as well as the complainant's identity.

      Because some complainants may have difficult with written communication or may be unable to travel, the complainant will be given the option of submitting concerns in person, by telephone or in writing or some combination of these, however, any allegation of serious impropriety must be in writing.

  2. Record Keeping

    An Administrative Fairness review file should be established and maintained for all formal complaints received under this Administrative Fairness policy. The file should contain a copy of formal complaint, notes summarizing any meetings held to attempt to informally resolve the complaint and documentation arising from each stage of the formal process of appeal.

  3. Processing of Formal Complaints

    • Acknowledgment

      The complaint is first reviewed by Director of Corporate Services who will acknowledge in writing to the complainant receipt of the complaint and will describe to the complainant the various review stages and the appeal process, as well as the time when the complainant may expect to receive a reply.

      A copy of the complaint and the Director of Corporate Services acknowledgment letter shall be provided to Council members for their information. (res:53-99)

    • Stage One - Referral/Review

      The complaint is then referred to the individual(s) or committee whose decision precipitated the complaint and the immediate supervisor of the person(s) for review. The immediate supervisor is required to invite the complainant to discuss the concerns. Upon completion of the review, the results will be conveyed in writing to the complainant, including reasons for the decision, as well as any legal, legislative or policy restriction which may have affected the decision. The results should also be copied to the Director of Corporate Services and the Chief Administrative Officer.

    • Stage Two - Review by Chief Administrative Officer

      Where the complaint has not been resolved by the previous steps, the complaint will be reviewed by the Chief Administrative Officer who will invite the complainant and staff or committee to discuss the concerns. Upon completion of this review, the results will be conveyed in writing by the Chief Administrative Officer to the complainant, including the reasons for the decision, as well as any legal, legislative or policy restrictions which may have affected the decision. The complainant should be advised at this time that if they are not satisfied with the results, an appeal can be made.

  4. Appeals

    In the event the complainant is not satisfied with the efforts of the Chief Administrative Officer to address the complaint, the complainant may file a further complaint with the Council, which must be in writing, and the Council must conduct a review “in camera”:

    1. When conducting a review, the Council must give reasonable and timely notice to all persons, including the Chief Administrative Officer and the complainant, who might be affected by the review process. All supporting information shall be provided to the Council. There may be circumstances where a complainant would prefer to make only a written submission.
    2. The complainant and the Chief Administrative Officer shall appear before the Council. However, if the complainant is not comfortable appearing in a formal setting, at the request of the complainant, discussions may be held informally, possible before a committee of Council.
    3. The decision of Council in respect of the review should be made reasonably promptly in all circumstances.
    4. The decision shall be confirmed in writing, outlining the reasons for the decision and noting any legislative, bylaw or policy restrictions affecting the decision. This decision will also be copied to the staff member and the supervisor.
    5. The complainant should be advised at this time that if they are not satisfied with the results, the matter can be referred to the Office of the Ombudsman.