Complaints

Complaints

We will do all we can to resolve your complaint promptly and effectively.

If you do not wish to complain yourself, with your consent someone else can complain on your behalf, however we may need to validate with you that they do have your consent.

Make a complaint

Alternatively you can contact us by telephone, in writing or in person using the contact details on our contact us page.

If you make a complaint, we will:

  • listen to what you have to say.
  • respond to you promptly, ensuring you receive a response to the issues you raise.
  • provide advice and information about how you can pursue your complaint further should you feel you need to do so.

Before making a formal complaint we would expect that you have raised a service request or contacted the relevant service to give them the opportunity to resolve the issue in the first instance.

Complaint procedures

Depending on the nature of your complaint, different processes are followed.

Adult Social Care Services

Stage 1 

We will contact you to acknowledge formal complaints relating to Adult Social Care Services within 3 working days.  

The statutory period for completing an investigation and responding to complaints relating to Adult Social Care Services is up to 6 months. If an investigation is carried out, then you will also receive a copy of the report.

If the complaint is complex and the senior officer requires more time to investigate the matter, we will keep you informed until the matter is concluded. 

If after this, you are dissatisfied with the Council's response to your complaint you can go to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

Children's Social Care Services

Stage 1

We will contact you to acknowledge formal complaints relating to Children’s Social Care Services within 3 working days.

The statutory period for completing an investigation and responding to complaints relating to Children’s Social Care Services is 10 working days but can be extended to 20 working days in line with statutory guidance.

If the complaint is complex and the senior officer requires more time to investigate the matter, we will keep you informed until the matter is concluded.


Stage 2

If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint response at stage 1, you may ask for your complaint to be reconsidered.

In order to request a stage 2 review of your complaint you must be able to show

  • the reasons why you disagree with the Stage 1 response
  • the potential outcomes you would hope to see from escalating your complaint

This request should be made within 20 working days of the date of the stage 1 response. Details of how to raise a stage 2 complaint will be included in the stage 1 response that you receive.

The statutory period for completing an investigation and responding to stage 2 complaints relating to Children’s Social Care Services is 25 working days but can be extended to 65 working days in line with statutory guidance.

If the complaint is complex and the senior officer requires more time to investigate the matter, we will keep you informed until the matter is concluded.


Stage 3

If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of your Children’s Social Care Services complaint response at stage 2, you may ask for your complaint to be reviewed at an Independent Review Panel.

In order to request a stage 3 review of your complaint you must be able to show:

  • the reasons why you disagree with the Stage 2 response
  • any potential outcomes you would like to see from escalating your complaint

This request should be made within 20 working days of the date of the stage two response. Details of how to raise a stage 3 complaint will be included in the stage 2 response that you receive.

The statutory period for holding the Independent Review Panel is 30 working days from the date of your request for a stage 3 review.

If after this, you are dissatisfied with the Council's response to your complaint you can go to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

Other Council Services

Stage 1

We will contact you to acknowledge formal complaints relating to other Council Services within 7 working days.

The period for completing an investigation and responding to complaints relating to other Council Services is 20 working days.

If the complaint is complex and the senior officer requires more time to investigate the matter, we will keep you informed until the matter is concluded.


Stage 2

If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint response at stage 1, you may ask for your complaint to be reconsidered.

In order to request a stage 2 review of your complaint you must be able to show:

  • the reasons why you disagree with the Stage 1 response
  • the potential outcomes you would hope to see from escalating your complaint

This request should be made within 20 working days of the date of the stage 1 response. Details of how to raise a stage 2 complaint will be included in the stage 1 response that you receive.

The period for completing an investigation and responding to stage 2 complaints relating to other Council Services is 25 working days.

If the complaint is complex and the senior officer requires more time to investigate the matter, we will keep you informed until the matter is concluded.

If after this, you are dissatisfied with the Council's response to your complaint you can go to the Local Government Ombudsman.

Complaints relating to Freedom of Information Requests are excluded from the stage 2 complaints process but can be escalated to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) if you remain dissatisfied with the Council’s response.

What will happen to my complaint?

What will happen if my complaint is upheld?

If we have failed to provide our agreed standards or quality of service, we will acknowledge and apologise for this. We will then set out actions we will take to put things right and improve our services. This could include:

  • reinstating a service to a customer
  • making changes to how we deliver our services
  • reviewing and amending information about our services
  • reviewing council policies and procedures
  • providing staff training and guidance

What will happen if my complaint is not upheld?

Where we have investigated and do not uphold the complaint, we will:

  • clearly explain the reasons for our decision
  • provide any relevant supporting evidence
  • inform you how to progress your complaint if you remain dissatisfied

Persistent and vexatious complainants

Occasionally customers may pursue a complaint in an unreasonable way which impacts on the council resources and capacity to respond to the complaint effectively. Examples include:

  • repeatedly refusing to clearly specify the grounds of a complaint
  • refusing to accept investigation decisions
  • repeatedly making the same or similar complaint unreasonable, persistent contact with council officers

If a complainant is considered to have become vexatious, they will be referred to a nominated officer who will decide on the action to be taken on any further involvement with the council on this matter.

There are separate complaints processes for some specific services

Councillors

The Council has a Code of Conduct that sets out the rules governing the behaviour of its members.

If you feel that a member has breached the County Council's Code of Conduct please use this online complaint form if you wish to submit a complaint about a Councillor's conduct.

Make a complaint

If you wish to discuss your complaint, please contact the Monitoring Officer.

Coroners Service

All complaints about the Worcestershire Coroner Service should be raised in the first instance with the Senior Coroner by writing to them at Worcestershire Coroner’s Court, The Civic, Martins Way, Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire DY13 8UN.

Data Protection

Complaints Form

We will acknowledge the complaint within 7 working days.

The complaint will be investigated by the Data Protection Officer or a delegated senior member of the Corporate Information Governance Team (CIGT) who will issue a full written reply, ideally within 20 working days but if the matter is complex then this may be extended to 40 working days.

If you are dissatisfied with the Council’s response to your complaint you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Freedom of Information (FOI) and Environmental Information Regulations (EIR)

Complaints Form

We will acknowledge the complaint or request for internal review within 7 working days.

The complaint will be investigated by a Consumer Relations Officer who will issue a full written reply, ideally within 20 working days but if the matter is complex then this may be extended to 40 working days.

Complaints or requests for internal review should be made no later than 40 working days after receipt of our initial response to your Freedom of Information or Environmental Information Regulation request. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, complaints made more than 40 days after the initial response will not be considered.

If you are dissatisfied with the Council’s response to your complaint or internal review, you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Health Service

For compliments, complaints and feedback about Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust you can contact their Patient Relations Team:

Patient Relations Team from NHS Trust

Details about how to compliment or complain about Herefordshire and Worcestershire CCG:

Compliments and complaints from Herefordshire and Worcestershire CCG

For compliments and complaints about care in Worcestershire NHS Acute Trust:

Complaints from Worcestershire NHS Acute Trust

West Mercia Police and Crime Panel

All complaints about the conduct of the PCC or Deputy PCC can be made online.

Online complaint form

Your complaint must relate to the conduct of the Police and Crime Commissioner. If you have an ongoing complaint, we would normally require that complaint process to be completed before it would be considered under the Panel's procedure.

There are separate procedures for the following complaints:

  • complaints about operational policing matters, the performance of West Mercia Police or any of its officers are dealt with by the West Mercia Police Standards Department
  • complaints about the Chief Constable or the office which supports the PCC are dealt with by the PCC
  • complaints about individual members of the Police and Crime Panel should be sent to the relevant Council

Complaints about schools

The Local Authority no longer has any role in the investigation of complaints about schools.

All complaints should be referred direct to the schools. Complainants should request a copy of the school’s complaints policy which will lay out the procedure that the school will be following when investigating the complaint.

Impartial advice can be obtained from the Special Educational Needs Disabilities Information and Support Service (SENDIASS).

Complaints at Stage 4, following a Governors Complaint Panel, if unresolved should be sent to the Secretary of State for Education, Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BT.

The complaints process also does not apply under the following conditions:

  • employee complaints relating to employment issues or disciplinary and grievance process
  • council decisions where there is an existing appeals process
  • matters already subject to legal proceedings
  • insurance claims against the council
  • issues through the council's 'Whistle-blowing' policy

Annual reports

Every year we produce annual reports on the operation of the Complaints and Representations Procedures.

The latest reports are available below.

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