Social services complaints procedure - what will happen when I make a complaint?
When a complaint is received it is passed to the complaints manager who decides whether it will be dealt with by us. If the complaint is accepted, it is logged and moves to -
Stage 1 – local resolution
The complaints manager will appoint an investigating officer to look into the complaint. This will usually be someone who manages the service area that has been complained about. The investigating officer will contact the person making the complaint and attempt to resolve the complaint. This should happen within 10 working days of the complaint being made. In more complex complaints, a further 10 day extension may be needed.
If the matter is resolved, the manager who looked into the complaint will write to the person who complained confirming the agreed solution to the complaint. If the complaint is not resolved at Stage 1, the complainant has the right to request their complaint goes to Stage 2.
Stage 2 – formal investigation
At Stage 2 an investigating officer is appointed who does not work for the area that is being complained about. They are assisted by an independent person who does not work for Hull City Council. They will meet the person who has complained to discuss and agree their complaint. The investigating officer will prepare a written report which will contain -
- details of findings - whether the complaint is accepted or not and what the conclusions and outcomes were
- what should be done to make things right if the complaint is upheld
This report will be passed to a senior manager, who will consider the contents of the report (this is called the adjudication). The senior manager will then review -
- what our response should be
- the decision on each point of the complaint
- any action to be taken with timescales
The complaints manager will then send the complainant -
- a complete copy of the investigation report
- any report from the independent person
- the written adjudication response
A Stage 2 investigation should take no longer than 25 days. However, if this is not possible it can be extended to a maximum of 65 working days. If the the person who made the complaint is not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation, they can then request a complaint review panel.
Stage 3 – review panel
A review panel must be held within 30 working days of the complainant requesting one. The panel consists of three independent people who have no connection with Hull City Council. The person who made the complaint has a right to attend the panel and can bring someone with them to speak on their behalf or for support. Other people who attend the panel are the investigating officer, the independent person, a representative of Hull City Council, the complaints manager and administrative support.
The review panel will -
- listen to all parties, in order to find out what the desired outcomes are for the complainant and the authority
- look at all the information gathered during the Stage 2 investigation
- obtain any further information that will help to resolve the complaint
The review panel generally does not -
- re-investigate the complaint
- consider any new complaints that have not been first considered at Stage 2
The panel will then go into what is called a “closed session”. This means only the three panellists are there with the complaints manager. They will discuss everything they have heard and read before coming to a decision. The panel have five days to produce a brief report, which will -
- recommend how we can make amends to the complainant, if appropriate
- recommend any service improvements to Hull City Council
After the review panel, the local authority must write to the complainant within 15 working days with its response to the review panel’s findings and recommendations. If the complainant is still not satisfied with the outcome of their complaint, they can contact the Local Government Ombudsman.
The complaints procedure is also available to download below -