This Fact sheet explains how you can complain about Community and Town Councils. It should be read together with our general information leaflet about our service. You may also wish to read our additional Fact sheets covering a range of specific public service areas.
There are 735 Community and Town Councils in Wales representing the tier of government closest to the people. The communities served by these Councils range from small rural
settlements to large towns, and each Council’s budget varies accordingly. However, all Councils have common aims to serve their communities and improve the quality of life in
Community and Town Councils are responsible to their local electorates for delivering a wide range of services and for the provision and upkeep of local amenities. Each Council is made up of elected members, or, in some cases, co-opted members.
Community and Town Councils operate in accordance with statutory powers and duties. Each council’s decision-making procedures are often governed by its own series of standing
orders; copies of these can be obtained from the Clerk to the Council.
If you think that a Community or Town Council has not followed the law, regulations or its own procedures, the Ombudsman may be able to help you. In view of the extensive range of community functions performed by Community and Town Councils, the types of complaints received by the Ombudsman in relation to these Councils can be wide-ranging. Some examples of the types of complaints the Ombudsman may consider are as follows:
The Ombudsman will only investigate a complaint where an individual (or, in some cases, a group of individuals) has suffered personal injustice or hardship because of the action or
lack of action on behalf of the Community or Town Council. The complaint must be brought by the person who has suffered this injustice, hardship or loss (or their representative).
The Ombudsman cannot:
You can get free, independent legal advice about the provision of services by your Council from your local Citizens Advice Bureau: www.citizensadvice.org.uk .
Your Council’s own website may also contain information about the provision of services in your local area and procedures.
Alternatively, you can contact the Clerk to the Council. Information concerning Community and Town Councils may also be obtained from One Voice Wales, the organisation that represents and provides support services to Community and Town Councils in Wales: www.onevoicewales.org.uk .
The Ombudsman is independent and impartial; he cannot order public bodies to do what he recommends – but, in practice, they almost always do. Examples of cases that the Ombudsman has looked at can be found on our website: www.ombudsman-wales.org.uk.