2. How the Council will deal with your complaint

The Council provides a fair, consistent, and structured approach to dealing with your complaint.

In many cases, a complaint is very straightforward. It’s our aim to make sure you get a response as soon as possible. 
Upon receipt of your complaint, you will receive an acknowledgement from the complaints team to advise how your complaint will be dealt with, including a timescale for responding. 

It may be that we need more information before we can progress your complaint or advise how it will be dealt with; if this is the case, we will contact you to request further information.

If your complaint is more complex, you might be asked to agree to a statement of complaint, and working towards a resolution will take a little longer. A statement of complaint is just a synopsis of the issues raised that makes it more straightforward for the complaint investigator to ensure that everything involved in the complaint is fully understood and agreed upon by everyone involved.

Once we have received all the information required to progress your complaint, the complaints team will arrange for an investigation to take place. Once your complaint has been investigated, you will receive a response outlining what the complaint investigation has found; the response will usually be provided to you in writing or over the telephone. 

We hope to be able to resolve your concerns with our initial response to your complaint but if you are unhappy with the response you receive, you can contact the complaints team for further advice.

Some parts of the council have a different complaints system that they must use, you can use the following links to view information specific to the different complaint areas:

Local Government Ombudsman

If at the end of the Council’s complaints process, you remain dissatisfied, you can ask the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (the Ombudsman) to review your complaint. The Ombudsman looks at individual complaints about councils, all adult social care providers (including care homes and home care agencies), and some other organisations providing local public services. It investigates matters fairly and impartially and is free to use. 

There are some matters the Ombudsman cannot or will not investigate. In these cases, it will explain clearly the reason for its decision. 

You usually have up to 12 months to make your complaint to the Ombudsman, starting from the date you first knew about the matter you complained about; the Ombudsman will normally only consider complaints made within that time but can decide to look at older complaints if there is a good reason to do so. 

The Ombudsman’s contact details are:

Website: www.lgo.org.uk - Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman website
Telephone: 0300 061 0614 (opening hours: Monday to Friday - 10am to 4pm, except public holidays)