Complaints - general information
Useful information to help you make a complaint, equalities and statistical information.
This page offers general information about how to complain, why equalities information is important to us and provides some statistical information. Further details can be found in the frequently asked question section below. For details of the four complaints procedures please visit the following pages:
- Complain about adult social care
- Complain about children's social care
- Complain about another service (corporate complaints)
- Complain about a councillor
We are committed to providing a high standard of service to all our customers and our complaints procedure is seen as an important part of our continuous improvement programme. The valuable feedback you give us can help us to identify problems and put them right.
If we do not agree with your complaint (complaint not upheld) we will explain why this is the case. We hope that, even if you do not get the answer you were hoping for, you will understand why.
We know that things can sometimes go wrong. If we do agree with your complaint (complaint upheld) we will apologise and try to take some practical action to put things right. We will try to put you back to the position that you would have been in but for our mistake. We will also try to ensure that the same mistake does not happen again.
We will review the lessons learned from complaints and will share best practice across the Council. In this way your complaints will help us to improve our services and provide them in the best way for our customers.
Who can complain, how you can complain and what we will do
Anyone who uses our services or is in contact with us can make a complaint. A relative, friend or advocate can complain on your behalf, but we will need your agreement and consent to share information with them.
In the first instance, it would be helpful to raise your concerns with the people delivering the service involved, or their managers. If you do not feel comfortable doing this, you can contact us using our online form below, in person, or by phone, email or post.
It will depend on the service involved as to which procedure will be followed (see links above). In general, someone will contact you within five working days to tell you how your complaint will be handled. Some issues cannot be considered under these procedures and are dealt with in other ways.
If you are not happy about our response to your complaint, or the way it was handled you can contact the local government ombudsman to consider it. They will expect you to have given the Council opportunity to deal with your complaint before they will investigate, but you can contact them at any time for advice.
Following the conclusion of your complaint you may be sent a short questionnaire asking you about your experiences of our complaints procedure. It would help us if you could complete and return it so that we can use this information to improve complaints handling where possible.
Unreasonable customer behaviour
We understand that making a complaint can be a very emotional process and we will do all that we can to help you through the procedure. However, we will not tolerate unreasonable behaviour from those making a complaint. Such behaviour may include (written, verbal or in person):
- Offensive sexual or racial remarks or offensive remarks about a person's disability;
- Inappropriate personal remarks;
- Unwanted physical contact or assault;
- Excessive swearing, foul or abusive language;
- Unreasonable persistence, for example contacting the Council many times about the same issue - see our policy on unreasonably persistent complainants [39kb].
We will tell you if we think your behaviour is unacceptable. If the behaviour continues we may limit the way you can contact us, for example only in writing.
In the course of dealing with your complaint you may be asked questions about equalities information. This will include things like your gender, age, ethnic background and whether you have a disability.
This information will not be passed to the person dealing with your complaint and will not affect how your case is handled (although the information is attached to your case, the case handler cannot see it). We will use this information anonymously and it will help us to ensure that all sections of the community can access the complaints procedures and are not disadvantaged in any way. It will also be used across the Council to help us build a picture of who our customers are and how we can best provide our services to cater for their needs.
We use the information gained from complaints to inform service improvements. Directorates receive regular reports detailing the complaints they have received, outcomes, timescales and so on. A quarterly corporate report is brought to the Council's management board, executive and standards committee and the latest annual report is available to download here [140kb].
Complaints - general information - frequently asked questions
- Who can complain?
- What can I complain about?
- What can't I complain about?
- What services do we provide and how do I contact you to make a complaint?
- Are there any time limits for making a complaint?
- What is the local government ombudsman and how do I complain to them?
- How can I make an effective complaint?