If you are writing to the City Council, you want to be sure that your letter is read and your issue attended to. You may be writing to complain, to make a suggestion or an objection, or simply to ask for further information on a local issue. Whatever your reason for writing, it is important to ensure you send your letter to the correct place and that you set out your complaint, idea, suggestion or business in a clear, concise way.
Find out where your letter needs to go. Look on the council’s website or directly phone to find out. Who or where you send your letter will depend on its subject matter – you may need to send it to a specific councillor or to a certain department of the council.
Plan your letter. Decide what points you want to address and plan a paragraph for each of them. Also plan an introduction, which should introduce the matter you wish to raise, and a concluding paragraph which should round up your points.
Set out your letter correctly. Write your name and address on the top right hand side. Below that, on the left hand side, write the councillor’s name or the name of the department, and the address.
Date your letter. This can go under either your address or the council’s address. It is important to include the date so that the council will know how long they have had your letter and whether your letter was written prior to any developments concerning the issue you are writing about.
Make your letter concise. Use a heading so that the recipient instantly knows what the letter is regarding. State the facts simply and clearly. If you have a complaint or a concern, describe what it is you would like to happen - include any suggestions for a solution or a compromise. Remember to include any relevant dates.
Use the correct grammar and presentation to make your letter authoritative. The recipient will make a judgement about you and your views and opinions based on the letter so ensure you proof read it and have someone else check it for grammar and spelling before you send it out.
Stick to the facts. Even if you feel very strongly about the matter you are writing about, it is vital to keep your emotions in check as they can get in the way of you making your point. Remain polite – that way your letter will have more chance of being taken seriously.
Sign off using the correct terms. If you know the name of the person you are writing to, then use ‘Yours sincerely.’ If you do not know their name then use ‘Yours faithfully.’
Make sure you include your contact details. Give a home number, mobile number and email address if possible.
- If you are writing concerning a very complex issue, then keep the letter short and attach any relevant documents.That way you avoid the main point of your letter becoming lost in the middle of lots of facts and figures.
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images