Resolving a problem with your council

If you have a concern about a council you should try to resolve it with the council in the first instance. If you are unhappy with the response from the council, you should write to council’s General Manager and ask them to look into the matter for you.

When you write to the General Manager, make sure your letter is clear and to the point. Describe the problem in a couple of sentences, tell the council what you need and ask for action. You need to allow the council a reasonable period to respond. For routine matters, you should generally allow four weeks – more complex matters may take longer to examine. If the council’s response is incomplete or unclear, write again to seek clarification. If after receiving the council’s response, your problem remains unresolved, you may need to consider taking the issue up with your local elected councillors or the Mayor.

The Office of Local Government’s investigations role is limited. For further information regarding our role, please refer to the Understanding OLG Complaint Handing section.

You may need to get your own legal advice and/or contact one of the following agencies preferably by telephone in the first instance:

Complaints Resolving a Problem


NSW Ombudsman

Independent Commission Against Corruption

OLG Complaint Handling

The role of the Office of Local Government is to provide a framework to enable councils to operate to a high standard.

Local councils are independent bodies, elected by and accountable to their communities and therefore we encourage councils to resolve most complaints at the local level.

Many people write to the Minister for Local Government and/or the Office of Local Government asking for the council to be directed to take or not take a particular course of action. However, under the legislation we have limited powers to intervene in the decision making and functions of individual councils.

This is why complaints should be made to the council in the first instance. Many problems ultimately have to be resolved by the council without outside involvement.

Complaint form OLG


Understanding OLG Complaint Handling

Categories of Complaints

Council Complaint Statistics

The complaints we receive about councils help us to proactively monitor council operations and identify emerging issues and trends. Analysis of this information enables us to better direct our resources. Analysis also helps us to identify the need for changes to local government legislation or policy or a need for training, guidance or other best practice advice.

For information on council complaints by financial year, see below.

Council Complaint 10 Year Trend