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Carstairs policy allowing anonymous complaints repealed

New policy sets process to respond to program and service delivery concerns by members of the public

CARSTAIRS — Council approved during a recent regular meeting a new municipal complaint policy and repealed a former policy that allowed for anonymous complaints.

The stated purpose of Policy 11-25-21 is to provide a “consistent and uniform process to respond to program and service delivery concerns raised by members of the public.”

The policy will also assist the municipality in “continuing to provide excellent service to the public, and will contribute to the continuous improvement of operations.”

Under the policy, a complaint is defined as an “expression of dissatisfaction to a municipal program, service, facility or staff member, where a citizen believes that the municipality has not provided a service experience to the customer’s satisfaction at the point of service delivery and a response or resolution is expected.”

Anonymous complaints will not be investigated under the policy.

The policy does not apply in several cases, including when it comes to a decision of council or a committee of council, an internal employee complaint, matters added by legislation, an existing municipal bylaw, policy or procedure, or matters that are handled by tribunals, courts of law, or quasi-judicial boards.

The policy does not address inquiries, requests for service, feedback, or compliments.

The policy outlines the process to file informal or formal complaints.

The informal complaints section states, in part, that, “It is the responsibility of municipal staff to attempt to resolve issues or concerns before they become formal complaints and identify opportunities to improve municipal services.”

Filing a formal complaint involves submitting a complaint form that includes contact details of the complainant, the type of complaint, details of the complaint, including location, employee involved, and resolution requested.

Regarding investigations of formal complaints, the policy states, in part, that, “If a complaint is made against the CAO, the mayor will investigate and consult with council or designate the municipal solicitor to investigate.

Complaints made against department heads will be investigated by the CAO.

A decision on the complaint will be made within 30 calendar days upon acknowledgement of the complaint.

“The response shall note whether the complaint was substantiated and include any action the municipality may take as a result of the complaint.”

Council passed a motion to repeal Policy 11-002-04 Anonymous Complaints, which was first put in place in April 2004.

Complaints against councillors are handled through the town’s Code of Conduct Bylaw No. 1059.