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Adult care complaints policy

Most complaints can be resolved locally by talking to your care worker or their manager.

If you have tried this, or don't feel it is an option in your circumstances and wish to take your complaint further, you can make a complaint through our official Complaints Procedure.

Making a complaint about adult social care

Who can complain?

You can make a formal complaint to us as long as you:

  • Receive or have received services that are provided by or commissioned by Norfolk County Council
  • Are someone who is affected, or likely to be affected, by an action or decision of Norfolk County Council

Complaining on behalf of someone else

You can complain on behalf of someone else if they have grounds to complain and they:

  • Have died, or
  • Can't make the complaint themselves because they aren't physically or mentally capable, or
  • Have asked you to act on their behalf. We will only share information if we receive consent of the individual concerned

If you make a complaint on behalf of someone who doesn't have mental capacity, you must act in that person's best interests. Otherwise, the complaint won't be considered.

When you can't make a complaint

You can't use the Complaints Procedure if:

  • You made a complaint orally and it was resolved by the end of the next working day
  • You're employed by the organisation and you want to complain about an employment issue
  • Your complaint has already been considered under the Complaints Procedure
  • Your complaint has been or is being investigated by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman
  • If legal action is underway

Time limits

You should normally make a complaint within 12 months of the date of the event that you're complaining about, or as soon as you first knew about the problem.

Adult Social Care complaints

If you have a complaint, you can tell someone you know from the service and they will try to resolve the problem promptly. If they cannot resolve the problem, they will offer to pass your details to the Complaints Team to be dealt with under the Complaints Procedure.

If you don't feel your complaint can be resolved locally, or if local resolution has failed, you can use our online form to make a complaint.

Adult Social Care complaints process

If your complaint relates to adult social care services, we will endeavour to respond within 15 working days where possible. However, depending on the complexity this may take longer. We should normally finish any investigation and provide you with a response within 6 months.

When we first receive your complaint, we will allocate it to a member of the Complaints Team. We will write to tell you we have received your complaint within five working days and let you know when you can expect to receive a response.

We will gather and review all the evidence (what you have said, what staff and others said, what's recorded in our systems - both electronic and paper, along with relevant legislation or guidance) to get the clearest picture possible of what has happened.

Once the complaint has been looked into, we will write to explain the outcome of the investigation and what we intend to do to resolve the problem.

Should the council consider that the concerns raised meet the criteria for investigation under Safeguarding procedures, this may delay a response to those specific concerns raised within the complaint. The Complaints Team will however provide an explanation of the Safeguarding process, how the complainant may be involved in this process, the likely timescale for completion and an update to be provided.

If you have experienced or seen poor care from an adult social care provider, you have a right to complain to the organisation that provided or paid for the care. By law, all health and social care services must have a complaints procedure that you can ask to see. This will tell you how to make a complaint.

In the first instance, you should contact the service provider; or if the care is funded or arranged by Norfolk County Council, you can complain to the council. Where specific concerns regarding standards of care are raised by a third party, or where restrictions on information sharing apply, the Complaints Team will ensure those concerns are shared with the appropriate service for further consideration.

You should also tell the Care Quality Commission (CQC) about poor care that you have seen or experienced. They are not able to take forward complaints on your behalf, but sharing information about poor care helps them to protect others from going through the same experience. More information about this service can be found on the CQC website.

If you are not satisfied with the council's response to your complaint, you can contact us again, we will review the response and your comments and decide if the service needs to do more to put things right. If this is the case, we will contact you to tell you what else we intend to do to resolve your complaint. If we believe the service has done all they reasonably can, we will write to advise you of this.

If you have complained to the care provider or the council and you are unhappy with their response, you can make a complaint to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman can investigate complaints about all adult care services, whether they are paid for by the council or by someone with their own money. More information about this service can be found on the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman website.

Adults, Health and Wellbeing complaints - not social care

If your complaint does not relate to social care services we provide, but is about other services we've provided, for example financial services, homelessness services, or other aspects of the support and advice we've given, we follow the Corporate Complaints Policy.

Get help

Mediation can sometimes be offered at any stage within the complaints process as an alternative way to resolve your complaint, and before the complaint is escalated to a higher stage. We will discuss this option with you if mediation is appropriate.

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