How to make a complaint?

Has anyone ever had such dire/non-existent help from Social Services that they have put in an official complaint?
I have been extremely patient with our local department but it is now just getting on top of me with the lack of any practical support.
DS2 is STILL awaiting an OT assessment since leaving hospital in August,we've been told there are 2 in front of us on the waiting list so we'll be seen end of December!! Then *if* they decide to help with bathing etc it won't be done for a year or so...
I won't go on I'll be here for a week but has anyone else registered a complaint and was anything actually acheived by doing so?
Thanks a lot


  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
    44.5K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    I believe that involving your MP can be helpful. but no, I've never made a formal complaint in this way. However I used to work for a housing association, which had similar procedures, and feel that it cannot hurt ... Local Authorities have to record their complaints, so try to avoid them, and you'd probably find that your case was looked at by someone senior to whoever's looked so far, and a response given within a particular timescale.

    Their policy is probably on their website.

    BTW, I think we knew the names of all the tenants who HAD made formal complaints, and generally tried to avoid causing another one!
    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • Hello, I filed a complaint regarding my son's referral to the OT for an assessment.
    He was allocated priority 2, which in my locality is 14 days to no longer than 28 days.
    After 6 months, and getting nowhere, I finally emailed to the Service Head for my area. I found their name from one of the letters I had sent, rang the switchboard and asked for their email details, I didn't like having to go above the heads, of all the people I had previously spoken to, but it's the system I had the problem with, not the people.
    Within 2 weeks, I had the OT in my house, and the assessment was completed in 1 morning. I do think I was the lucky one, I only needed the assessment for a grant not ongoing input.
    Request a 'read receipt' just so you know the message is there, and hopefully you may see some action. By emailing, your mail will be read by the person who you specifically want to read it. Keep your complaint to the point, and the facts, and try to keep it to roughly 1 side of A4
    Good Luck.
  • D&DDD&DD Forumite
    4.4K Posts
    Thanks very much for your help.I have never complained officially before, it's not in my nature to get people into trouble who are at the end of the day like everyone else just trying to do a job. The failings in this case however, have been so awful I really feel something needs to be said.

    I don't hold out much hope for anything being actually done,my son was priority 1 *within 15 days*...the head of SS has had complaints from Head of Camhs,hospital consultant and OT from the hospital,consultant from the local hospital,G.P,school nurse,school etc etc and still nothing has been done to help.

    We finally got a visit this week from the 'acute care team',who apparently are supposed to help when you are discharged.My son had sores on his wound/neck where we were not given any dressings,we were told to buy them,we've had to shave his hair off as it can't be washed,he still is unable to wash and is on bedbaths.
    If we hadn't brought some equipment home on loan from the hospital we'd have nothing to help us...
    We've had to buy a special chair,table etc as he couldn't wait for some things.
    We've been told to take him to the local swimming pool for a shower..the list goes on and on top of this our youngest is Autistic so you can imagine what the upheaval has meant to him.

    On the bright side...his next op is in January so at least he'll be able to have a shower :D
  • AmesAmes Forumite
    18.5K Posts
    I'm really sorry to hear you've had such an awful time. I'll be watching this thread with interest as my carer will be moving out in a couple of months so I'll need help from SS. Last time they refused and I was so ill I didn't have the strength to fight, this time my sister says she'll help. If it's anything like last time I'll have to make complaints to get anything done though.
    Unless I say otherwise 'you' means the general you not you specifically.
  • lorrywlorryw Forumite
    143 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    I made a complaint after several years of dreadful treatment by our local SS department. It was made easy because I was so furious and realised that they were breaking the law left right and centre.
    I went to stage 3 (they dont make it easy, we had to pass through 2 stages)) and it was worth all the hassle because now any problems are dealt with quickly. I find it useful to email any problems rather than ring and copy in my MPs email address. I always get an answer before the day is out.
    I also contacted the Local Government Ombudsman because I was so furious who directed me back to the local council to investigate first. However, I think they have changed the system and will investigate quicker. I dont know the email address but just google Local Government Ombudsman and go from there. It also helped the council take my complaint more seriously because the LGO was involved.
    I urge anyone who feels let down, ignored or fobbed off to complain. Things will only change if Councils are made accountable for poor services and flouting of Care Laws.
    Good luck!!
  • D&DDD&DD Forumite
    4.4K Posts
    Ames I'll keep you updated I haven't got the official complaints form yet,apparently there's a different one for Social Services and it took them passing me through 5 operators to find this out...

    Lorryw I am that cross on my kids behalf that I intend to take this as far as I can this time.I have never had any input from the 'team' for 6 years and I gave them ample warning of his ops (8 months) so they have no excuse.:cool:
  • HoraceHorace Forumite
    14.4K Posts
    I made a complaint about the jobcentre to my MP - I wrote to him and enclosed a letter to the Parliamentary Ombudsman asking if he would pass it on - he didnt as he would rather complain to the District Manager of the jobcentre and so he passed my complaint on - as soon as the Parliamentary Ombudsman was mentioned they were falling over themselves to help. My suggestion would be to write to your local MP.
  • Hello from an ex- student social worker my advice would be,
    1. record all you contact by phone, letter etc. So you can prove your contact.
    2. Call at least once a day every few days, if you can get your workers direct line number great, why, because the main switch board is always engagaed and the offices are normaly open plan and shared so if your ringing for a long time someone may pick up if they are fed up of the ringing. ( I know it sounds bad )
    3. Find out the name of the workers team manger, you can find that out from asking the worker or when you call the office main switch board.
    4. If you have no luck with the worker call their team manager once a week.
    5. Always ask them to record that you have made the call and what they have said. so if they say they have referred and have not its not your word against them.
    6. All authorities have to have a complaints policy under the community care act.
    7. Any verbal complaint back it up by a written letter of what its is and who you informed and when. Always add on any complaint A FORMAL COMPLAINT on any written corspondants.

    8. If its is an on going issue then don't let them put all your concerns as one complaint. Date each complaint concern.

    9. DO NOT BACK DOWN, ask, ask and ask again.

    Good luck I hope it helps from my experience of working for social services, it may not help see what you think and what you are comfortable with doing.
  • D&DDD&DD Forumite
    4.4K Posts
    Thanks so much for your detailed reply JM it is much appreciated :D
    I spent 2 hours today composing my letter,rewriting it to leave out unnecessary waffle :o and now have a quite strongly worded account of what has happened (or not in our case) and when.
    I phoned to check I could send a letter to accompany the official complaint form and was assured it would be ok.
    Its quite funny actually about the M.P as I know both our local ones very well,as well as all our local councillors,one of whom spent 2 hours at our home for carers week and left exhausted :rotfl:
    (I do a lot of voluntary work not complaining lol)
    M.P asked the secretary of state for transport why my kids were being denied a blue badge and after recieving a personal reply from them *on posh official paper no less!*We finally got one,so he's not unfamiliar with our case which helps..
  • ElectricSoupElectricSoup Forumite
    21 Posts
    i've worked as an OT in kids SS before. its sad but true that often its the proverbial "squeaky wheel" that gets the attention, so i'd definitely recommend a formal complaint. councils usually have several complaint stages & have timelines they need to meet to respond to complaints. if you're not happy with the initial reponse it'll move up a level. you can also request a copy of your child's file under freedom of information act.
    i'd also recommend you keep copies of everything! get people's names when you speak to them (you're likely to speak to a lot of different people!). keep your own diary of what happened when ie who you spoke to, what they said, names, etc.
    and it helps to be clear about what you would like the outcome to be of the complaint eg an OT assessment!
    and remember that the "grass roots" workers, those that actually walk through your front door, are usually rarely to blame for long wait times so try to be kind when they do arrive!
    best of luck.
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