Adults' social care complaints

How to complain about an adults' social care service you've received.

1 Overview

By law, the County Council must have special procedures for handling complaints that relate to the social care services they provide. These procedures are different from the County Council corporate complaints procedure.

If you arrange and fund your own social care, the County Council's complaints procedures do not apply. All social care providers must, by law, have their own complaints procedure which you will need to follow.

If you require an interpreter to help you make a complaint, call 01243 777100 and ask to use the Telephone Interpreting Service.

Further help and advice

2 When to make a complaint

Whenever you have a problem with our adults’ social care services we want to hear about it.

Sometimes we will treat that problem as a complaint and use this procedure; sometimes we will have to use a different way to resolve things. For instance, we might have to use our adult safeguarding procedures, which look into problems when people are at risk of harm. Or, if you are challenging a decision, that might be dealt with using a separate appeals process.

Whichever way we are going to deal with the problem, we will give you a full explanation of what we are doing and why.

3 How to make a complaint

The best way to get something sorted out is to talk or write to the person you dealt with, or their line manager.

If you don't know how to contact them, or you don't need to speak to anybody, you can register your comment, compliment or complaint via the online form:

Comment, compliment or complain online

Our complaints leaflet below provides details of how to make a complaint, and a brief summary of our complaints procedure. Some services are provided by, or are in partnership with, health agencies, and the protocol below explains how these are dealt with.

If you need help to make your complaint

If you would like someone else to deal with the complaint on your behalf, or support you when you make your complaint, this is fine. We will check with you that you are aware of the complaint and that you agree with it before proceeding.

You can find details about advocacy and organisations who might help on our Connect to Support site.

Supporting documents

4 Our response

If we haven’t already spoken to you, and as long as we have your phone number, we will call you to discuss your complaint.

We will check that we understand exactly what the problem is and what you would like us to do to put it right. We call this your ‘desired outcome’; we aim to achieve this if our policies, procedures and eligibility criteria allow, and if it is fair and legal.

If it looks unlikely we can sort the problem out straight away, whether we have managed to talk to you or not, we will send you a letter explaining how we will look into your complaint. We'll also tell you how long we think it will take to action. This is your Individual Complaints Action Plan (ICAP).

Your ICAP is usually carried out by the manager responsible for the service you have a problem with.

5 Resolving your complaint

Once we have sent you your Individual Complaints Action Plan (ICAP) we will follow the steps outlined in it.

When all the steps have been completed we will inform you of our findings, and whether we are able to do the things you have requested to resolve the problem.

If you are happy with our response, then we will agree that your problem is resolved.

6 If you are still unhappy

If you are not happy with our response please let us know so that we can see if there is anything else we can do.

If necessary, a senior manager will review your complaint and send you a final response on behalf of the service.

If we are not able to settle things to your satisfaction you can ask the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) to review the way we have dealt with your complaint.

The LGSCO is responsible for ensuring councils deliver their services properly, fairly and within the law.

Last updated:
18 September 2023
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