Somerset County Council
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Complaints, comments, compliments

 

Whether we’ve got something right, or could have done something better, we would like to hear what you think of our services. 

You can use the links below to give us your feedback about our services. If you would like more information, please follow the links in the ‘Related services’ and ‘Information and resources’ sections of this page.

Complaint

Comment

Compliment

If your feedback is about Children’s Social Care, please use the following links. You can find more detailed information about the Children’s Social Care complaints process in the ‘Information and resources’ section of this page.

Complaint about Children’s Social Care 

Comment about Children’s Social Care 

Compliment about Children’s Social Care

Schools
Schools are managed by the headteacher and governors, and any questions, problems or complaints must be raised with the school in the first instance. If this does not resolve the issue you should follow the school's complaints procedure - which you can find on the school's website. 

Feedback
You can also give your feedback or make a complaint about any of our services without using the links above.

  • Fill in our customer feedback form, which is available from libraries and other customer access points throughout the county 
  • Email somersetdirect@somerset.gov.uk 
  • Text 07781 482858 
  • Phone 0300 123 2224  
  • Write to us 

Somerset County Council
Comments, Compliments, Complaints
Customer Contact
FREEPOST NAT 9109 
Taunton
Somerset
TA1 4ZA 

Essential information 

Complaints
With complaints it is far easier to find out what happened and put things right if tell us straight away. As time passes it becomes more difficult to investigate events fairly and fully – people’s memories fade, staff who were involved leave the Council, or records may no longer be available. For these reasons, we will normally only accept complaints made within twelve months of the incident or circumstances that led to the complaint. 

If your complaint is older please contact us so that we can tell you about other ways that might still be available to solve your problem.

What the Council considers to be a complaint
A complaint can be many things, and some possible situations are listed below. For example, you could be dissatisfied about: 

  • The standard of service received from us 
  • Our response to a request for service 
  • Our actions
  • The behaviour of a member of staff 
  • Harassment, bias or unfair discrimination - we promise to investigate and seek to put right any unfairness or unfair discrimination

We do not mean

  • An initial request for a service such as reporting a faulty street light or a pothole. We have to have had the chance to provide the service or put something right, which we can only do if we have received a request or been told about a problem. 
  • Where a separate appeals procedure exists or a legal remedy is open to you, for example planning applications, or schools admissions policy.   
  • When you are unhappy about policies set by Somerset County Councillors, for example a budget decision which changes the services available or how they are delivered.  
  • Insurance claims relating to alleged damage or injury. These will be dealt with by the Council's insurance section.  
  • If your complaint is about policies set by other organisations. 
  • When your complaint is about alleged serious misconduct by an employee of the Council. This will be dealt with through our internal HR procedures, as it would not be appropriate to deal with the issue through the complaints procedure. We will not provide details or the outcome of those internal procedures, but we will let you know once internal processes are complete.

How we will deal with your complaint
When we receive your complaint, it will be sent to the service team you are complaining about for them to investigate and respond to you. They understand the issues involved and are best placed to put things right as quickly as possible. We aim to reply to your complaint with a full response within 10 working days. If, for any reason, it may take longer we will let you know.

If, however, you feel there are reasons why you cannot resolve your complaint direct with the service team, please contact us and we will discuss this with you and agree how to proceed.

You may feel you need independent support or help to make your complaint. There is a range of advocacy support available in Somerset, and we will be able to signpost you to organisations that may be able to help you. You can also find more information on our Help from Social Care page.

What happens if you are not happy with the response from the service team?
You can contact us if you wish to take the matter further. We will talk to you about your reasons, and will discuss and agree the best way to take your complaint forward. In some cases, mediation or dispute resolution are the most effective ways to resolve complaints. In other cases it may be that a formal independent investigation is the best option. Whichever route is agreed, we aim to provide a full response within 20 working days. We will keep you updated on progress and will let you know if for any reason it is likely to take longer.

If you are still unhappy with the outcome after the above processes have been exhausted you can escalate your complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO). The LGO is independent and they do not make a charge for reviewing complaints against councils. However, they will not normally investigate your complaint until the Council has had the opportunity to fully investigate it.

How to contact the Ombudsman 

Local Government Ombudsman
PO Box 4771
Coventry
CV4 0EH
Phone: 0300 061 0614
Fax: 024 7682 0001
Website: http://www.lgo.org.uk 

Compliments and comments
It is also important for us to know about things that are going well or how the service can be improved, and to be able to give staff positive feedback. When we receive your compliment, we will write to thank you and will pass your thanks on to all the people concerned. Your comments will be passed to the service, and we will use these to help us improve.

Petitions and e-petitions
For more information about petitions, and what you need to do if you want to create and submit a petition, please see our Petitions page.

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