Today in the post I received a reply to my complaint that I handed to the Town Council last Tuesday evening at the town council meeting. Writing the formal letter of complaint and highlighting the discrimination I was facing on the grounds of my disability was a last resort and I really had hoped that I wouldn’t need to do it. However having looked at the Town Council’s website and this is copied from it

The following list is a guide to the range of complaints which are covered by this Complaints
  1. Failure to provide a service or to achieve an acceptable standard
  2. Issues regarding the attitude of staff and or their actions, or lack of actions
  3. Dissatisfaction with the manner in which council policy and procedure has been carried out
  4. Discrimination
I’m fairly happy that I ticked at least 3 out of the 4 boxes. The policy goes on to say;
There are two stages to the council’s complaints procedure:
Stage One
Your complaint will be acknowledged within three working days of contacting us and forwarded to
the Town Clerk who will investigate your complaint and reply to you within ten working days.
If you are unhappy with the Town Clerk’s reply you can appeal to the Chairman of the Council,
which leads to Stage Two

Given that I did not receive acknowledgement of my complaint in the allotted timeframe and that the reply I did get to my complaint, and I am not paraphrasing here, but the entire letter received 6 days after the initial complaint sent from the Town Clerk read;

Thank you for your complaint we have forwarded it to our insurers as you requested

I kid you not that is the whole response. Not a response to one element of the complaint, the disability discrimination, not even the name of the council’s insurers so I know who to liaise with now. It seems the council are as happy to waste tax payers money on legal action as they are to approve moving of a play area that they claim had no proper consultation, to another play area where there has been no proper consultation, and which despite my highlighting their duty under the Equality Act 2010 to a play area that falls well below the requirements of that act for a disabled wheelchair user. At the very least some sort of acknowledgement of the complaint, and informing me that at the end of the meeting it was agreed that disabled access was to be discussed in the Leisure and Environments next forum – something I would never have known had Councillor Julian Halls not done the right thing and asked for the council to discuss disabled access to all its services and facilities at the next full council meeting, and having not had that agreed informed me that the matter was to be discussed in the next sub committee forum.

I have, no let me start that again, I had no desire to waste tax payers money suing the council for failing to fulfill its duty under the Equality Act 2010, but giving that they passed a proposal to move play equipment at a cost of £65,000 without exploring, and proposing and entering in to discussions other alternatives on the basis that there was a possibility that doing nothing following the noise complaints could lead to legal action it seems it is the only way of doing business.

It is a real shame but given the amount of support yesterday I know I have to do something!

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