Make a complaint or appeal

Should you wish to complain, your comments can help us review and improve our services.

1 Overview

West Sussex County Council (WSCC) is absolutely committed to responding to customers in a timely manner. We recognise the importance for our customers of a prompt resolution if you want to complain.

Every upheld complaint is examined for ways that we can improve our service. We know that we can always improve and we welcome your feedback. You can make comments or suggestions, but if you decide to complain, you can be sure that we will deal with you fairly and try to learn from what you tell us.

The best way to get something sorted out is to talk or email to the person you dealt with, or their line manager. They will always try to resolve matters without you having to go through a formal process.

If you don't know how to contact them, or you don't want to discuss your concerns with anybody, you can log your complaint.

2 What you can expect

Sometimes we will treat the problem as a complaint; at other times we may use a different way to resolve things such as our safeguarding procedures:

If you are challenging a decision rather than complaining about a service or a member of staff, we may use one of our appeals processes.

Whichever way we are going to deal with the problem, if we are not using one of the three complaints procedures we will give you a full explanation of what we are doing and why.

3 Complaints procedures

Complaints are dealt with under one of three council procedures:

  1. Adults' social care - See the corresponding leaflet, easy-read version and full document ‘Complaints about adult social care practice’ as well as the Pan-Sussex protocol below relating to joint working with the NHS. Please note that you may not receive an ICAP letter as these are no longer mandatory.
  2. Children’s social care - See the corresponding leaflet, the 2006 regulations, which set out the statutory procedure, and the guidance ‘Getting the best from complaints' below.
  3. Corporate - See the corresponding leaflet and the document ‘Corporate complaints procedure’ below.

The three complaints procedures vary slightly, but each one means that you will receive a response from the manager responsible for the service, hopefully within ten working days but certainly within 20 working days.

It is possible that they will contact you to discuss your complaint before they send the response. The response will tell you what procedure is being used and what the next steps are if you are still unhappy.

We recognise that when something seems to have gone wrong, it can be a stressful time for you. We do ask that you remain polite when dealing with our staff, give us a reasonable amount of time to try to sort things out for you and that you do your best to follow the published procedures. If you do not, we may have to apply our procedures for unreasonably persistent complainants or unacceptable behaviour (see supporting documents).

Supporting documents

4 Appealing against decisions

Highways decisions

If you have applied to WSCC for permission for something to do with a highway and permission was not given, you have the right to appeal.

Adults' decisions

If you are challenging an adults' social care decision, we may use our appeals process.

School admissions

There is a separate statutory process for making an admissions appeal.

Blue Badge decisions

If your application for a Blue Badge is unsuccessful you will receive a letter telling you the outcome. This letter will also tell you how to appeal.

5 If you need help to make your complaint

If you would like someone else to deal with the complaint on your behalf, or to 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.

If you are an adult, you can find details about advocacy and organisations who might help on our Connect to Support site.

If you are a child or a care leaver you can find details about advocacy on our Your Space site.

6 Submit your complaint/appeal

Last updated:
17 April 2024
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  • West Sussex County Council will only use this email address to respond to any issues raised.