If you are unhappy about the social care or Learning Disabilities service you have received from us, we would like to hear from you and have the chance to put things right.
Government tells Councils like Somerset how they should deal with complaints about social care.
This information explains the process to you as clearly as possible. You can write to us, phone, or email.
We want to provide you with the best services possible. But sometimes things may not be as right for you as they should be.
We want to listen and respond to your comments, compliments and complaints and learn from what you tell us about how we can improve our services and prevent problems in the future.
We want the Adult Social Care (ASC) complaints procedure to:
- Be open, accountable and fair
- Focus on you, the client
- Put things right
- Find ways to keep improving
If someone has come to see you to assess your care needs and you don't agree with the result of the assessment you can appeal against your assessment. We have a separate procedure to follow for this. Please click on 'Fair access to care services' in the related services section of this page for information about this.
How do I use it?
If you are unhappy about a service or the way you have been treated, tell the person concerned or write to:
Customer Experience Officer
Adult Social Care
You can write to us, phone, or email. We will tell you we have received your complaint within three working days. It will be taken seriously and all efforts will be made to sort it out quickly and effectively. We will contact you, usually by phone, to discuss the best way to reach a satisfactory outcome. We will:
- Make sure we understand your complaint
- Tell you the name of the person who will be investigating your complaint and how you can contact them
- Ask you what you would like to happen because of your complaint and tell you if we think it is realistic.
- Agree how long it will take for us to investigate and respond to you.
Can anyone else help?
Other organisations can help you and can speak on your behalf. These include:
Independent Complaints Advocacy Services (ICAS)- South West.
Phone: 0845 120 3782
Other useful contacts:
Musgrove Park Hospital- Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)
Phone: 01823 343536
Yeovil District Hospital- Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)
or phone Ali Male on 01935 384706/478491
What happens next?
We can investigate a complaint in two stages:
This is generally for complaints that can't be resolved within 24 hours. The Manager of the specific service area will investigate your complaint and respond directly to you. This will take between 10 and 20 working days.
If you are still unhappy with the answer we gave you to Stage 1 or the issues raised are more complex, your complaint will be escalated to Stage 2 of the complaints process.
How we respond will depend on the complaint, but it will be led by someone who can take an independent view on your complaint and the Stage 1 response.
It may involve an Investigating Officer producing a report which will go to the relevant Head of Service. During the investigation the Complaints Officer or Investigating Officer will discuss with you whether you could benefit from assistance from someone else, such as an advocate or another support service, and whether mediation could help the process.
We aim to do everything we can to resolve your complaint but if you are still not satisfied you can contact the following organisations for further assistance:
Care Quality Commission
Newcastle upon Tyne
Phone: 03000 616161
The Local Government Ombudsman
PO Box 4771
Advice Line: 0300 061 0614 or 0845 602 1983 - Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5pm.
You can also text 'call back' to 0762 480 4299.
The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) can consider complaints from people who arrange and fund their own adult social care. This is in addition to complaints about care arranged and funded by local authorities, which the LGO has dealt with for more than 35 years.
The LGO's new role includes people who 'self fund' from their own resources or have a personalised budget. It will make sure that everyone has access to the same independent Ombudsman service regardless of how the care service is funded. The LGO has advised that in most cases they will only consider a complaint once the care provider has been given a reasonable opportunity to deal with the situation.
How long does it take?
You must tell us that you want us to investigate the complaint within 12 months of the incident happening, or within 12 months of you finding out about the incident.
We must tell you that we have received your complaint within three working days and we must offer you a meeting to discuss the complaint.
We must finish the complaint process within six months of receiving your complaint and not lose any opportunity to learn about and improve our services.
After we have investigated your complaint, you can ask the Local Government Ombudsman to look at your complaint.
You will be asked how you want your complaint to be handled and what you want to happen to put things right.
How will your comments and compliments be dealt with?
When we receive your comment we will write and thank you. A Manager will let you know within 20 working days how we will put your suggestion into practice, or will explain why we can't.
When we receive a compliment, we will write and thank you and will pass your thanks to the people concerned. We will make sure that your thanks are recorded on their personal record of employment with us.
We will use all the information we receive from you to learn and improve our services.