Social Care Services Complaints & Compliments
We would like to hear from you. We want the services we provide to be the best possible and that's why your feedback is important to us. You may feel unhappy or have a concern about a service you receive or you may want to make a suggestion that helps us improve it. We also hope that there are times when we do something well.
If you are unhappy with your care and support, you have a right to complain. We aim for high standards but sometimes things do go wrong. Unless you tell us, however, we will not know that you are unhappy. If you contact us, we will be able to work with you to put things right as soon as possible.
It is important to distinguish representations from complaints. Representations relate to certain matters under the Children Act or Adoption and Children Act. In the main representations are treated in the same way as complaints, however this guide will point out where there are any differences in approach.
Any member of the public, including a child, who has received, or was entitled to receive a social care service provided by Carmarthenshire County Council or a service commissioned by the Council, may make a complaint.
You may make a complaint on behalf of someone else, where that person:
- Is a child
- Has requested you to act on their behalf
- Lacks mental capacity to decide to make a complaint for themselves
- Has died
However, we will need to decide if you are appropriate and have sufficient interest in the welfare of the individual and be suitable to act in their best interest.
In terms of who can make a representation, they include a child, their parent, foster carer or someone who has parental responsibility.
If you make a complaint or representation, wherever possible we will respect your right to confidentiality. Although we will need to share the information you give us with others in order to address your complaint. We will only do this if necessary. To find out more about how we use your information as part of the complaints process, view our privacy notices. If you are unable to access the privacy notices online and you wish to receive a copy, please contact 01267 228703.
There are two stages in the complaints process:
- Stage 1 – Local Resolution
- Stage 2 – Formal Investigation
A complaint should usually be made within 12 months from the date that the concern arose. The first step in sorting out a problem is to contact someone involved in providing the service or, if you prefer, our Complaints and Compliments Team.
This is known as local resolution. Do not be afraid to complain. We will take your complaint seriously and will welcome all your comments. We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint in writing within 2 working days. You may contact us in any way you choose, you do not have to write your complaint down. You can tell us your complaint and we will make a written note of it.
You can contact the Complaints and Compliments Team in the following ways:
- By completing our online form
- By phone on 01267 234567
- By email email@example.com
- In writing by Freepost to Complaints and Compliments Team, Freepost RRZH - HXZC-AGLE, Chief Executive's Department, Carmarthenshire County Council, County Hall, Carmarthen, SA31 1JP
In an attempt to resolve matters, we will offer to discuss your complaint with you (either face to face or by telephone). The discussion will take place within 10 working days of the date of acknowledgement unless you agree to extend this deadline.
- We may agree to do what you ask
- We may have to apologise to you for having made mistakes
- We may have to explain things better
The person looking into your complaint might need to read your file and ask questions before deciding on what should be done.
Following the discussion, we will write to you within 5 working days with a resolution (whilst still 10 working days for a representation this can be from the date of acknowledgement, or when an advocate is appointed, or in certain cases when we have determined the person making the representation has sufficient interest to make the representation).
You have the right to an advocate (someone who will help you state your point of view). If you are under 18 we will usually find you an advocate. If you are over 18 we will tell you where to find one. If you would like an advocate to assist you please let us know.
No, if you would prefer, you have the right to ask us to consider your complaint at stage 2 without it having first been considered at stage 1. We also have the discretion to take your complaint directly to stage 2 if we think that it is inappropriate for it to be dealt with initially at stage 1.
You may ask for your complaint to be investigated by someone who is not involved with the authority at all, known as an independent investigator. This is known as Stage 2 or formal investigation.
If your complaint is serious, or you are not satisfied with the way your complaint was resolved during Stage 1 you can ask for your complaint to be investigated by someone who is not involved with us at all. This is known as Stage 2 or a formal investigation.
We will write to you within 5 working days of receiving your request for your complaint to be formally investigated. This is to make sure that we understand the details of your complaint and the outcome you would like to achieve.
Once you have confirmed the details of your complaint and an independent investigator has been commissioned, this will then be considered the start date.
The independent investigator will:
- Talk to those involved and check the facts
- Try to find a way of solving the problem
- Write a report for the Council
If you are under 18 we will also ask an independent person, to make sure your complaint has been handled well and fairly and that all parties have been heard.
We will respond to you within 25 working days from the start date to:
- State whether the complaint is upheld or not
- Explain what action will be taken, if any
- Apologise if appropriate.
If there is a delay we will explain why.
A copy of the report will be provided, unless there is a specific reason not to do so, which will be explained to you.
Some complaints will not be taken through the above process and may be more suitable through the council’s corporate complaints process. If this is the case, we will advise you at the time you make the complaint. Some complaints cannot be taken forward, for example if you want to complain on behalf of the individual who has care and support needs, but they don’t want to make a complaint we will not be able to take the complaint forward, unless they are assessed as lacking mental capacity to make that decision. There are occasions where we may place your complaint on hold because there are other ways that the issues raised in your complaint are being considered. For example, if the matter is being looked through safeguarding processes or consideration is being given to court proceedings. We will advise you if these circumstances apply, and when those processes are complete, we will contact you to see if you still wish to pursue the complaint.
Social services work closely with lots of other organisations. You may have a complaint about a service we have arranged for you with another care provider, such as a residential care home, a home care agency, or a day service. Each organisation will have its own complaints process and, at Stage 1 we will usually send your complaint to them and make sure they deal with it. We will tell you exactly what we are doing. If you have already complained to the other organisation, and you are not happy with their reply, then we will deal with your complaint at Stage 2. If your complaint is about something we have provided jointly with another organisation, e.g., a package of care from both health and social care staff, we will look at your complaint together and usually send you one response.
If you want to, you can let us know when you are pleased with what we have done. You can do this by telling the staff you have contact with or get in touch with the Complaints and Compliments Team. Our staff are not able to accept any form of gifts as an acknowledgement for the good work that they do.
Contact the Complaints and Compliments Team in one of the following ways.
- By phone on 01267 234567
- By email firstname.lastname@example.org
- By completing our online complaints and compliments form.
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