How complaints are dealt with:
How to make a compliment, comment or complaint?
If you are paying someone a compliment, we will send you an acknowledgement and make sure your comments are passed onto the staff concerned.
We will consider carefully all comments that are received to see how we can improve our services.
If you are not satisfied with the service you have received from us, we hope that, firstly you will talk to the member of staff concerned or their manager. This may help to get the problem sorted out to everyone's satisfaction as quickly as possible.
You may prefer these issues to be dealt with by someone else. If you decide to do this, you can email, write or telephone the Children's Complaints Manager or you can complete the online form.
The Children's Complaints Manager for the Wellbeing, Care & Learning Department is based at:
Wellbeing, Care & Learning Department
PO Box 505
Middlesbrough TS1 9FZ
Telephone: 01642 728416
Fax: 01642 729985
If you are a child or young person you can speak to an Advocate, this is someone who can act on your behalf or they can help you to have your say.
If you would like to speak to an Advocate the Children's Complaints Officer can contact them for you or you can contact them directly:
NYAS (National Youth Advocacy Service)
Phone: 0808 808 1001
We try to resolve complaints as quickly as possible and the manager responsible for your services will deal with your complaint at this stage.
We may move your complaint directly to Stage 2 if we both agree that it would be more appropriate.
We will write to you within 3 working days to let you know who will deal with your complaint.
A manager, will contact you to discuss your complaint and try to resolve the issues within 10 working days.
If the manager is not able to look into your complaint fully within 10 working days, they will contact you to advise you, but they should take no more than 10 extra days to let you know what they can do to sort out your complaint.
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint or if the 20 working day timescale has elapsed, you have the right to move things onto Stage 2 of the complaints procedure.
At this stage your complaint will be investigated by a Senior Manager who will be the Investigating Officer and will be someone who does not work for the area of service you are complaining about.
If you are a child or young person under 18 or your parents or carers are complaining about the services you are receiving, an Independent Person from outside the Local Authority will be involved to ensure that your complaint is investigated properly and fairly.
The Investigating Officer and Independent Person will meet with you to agree the details of your complaint and your desired outcome.
You should receive a written response within 25 working days of your complaint being agreed with the Investigating Officer.
Where it is not possible to complete the investigation within 25 working days, Stage 2 may be extended to a maximum of 65 working days but the Investigating Officer will discuss any delays with you.
Both the Investigating Officer and Independent Person will prepare a report of their findings and offer to meet with you to go through the report.
We will send you a copy of the final report. A Senior Manager will also write to you confirming their response to the report, their decision on the complaint, actions they will be taking and the timescales for these actions. This process is known as the adjudication process.
You will have 20 working days from receipt of the Local Authority's response to request a Review Panel.
The Review Panel will take place within 30 working days of your request, where possible.
Purpose of the Review Panel:
- listen to all parties.
- consider the adequacy of the Stage 2 investigation.
- focus on achieving resolution for the complainant by addressing his/her clearly defined complaints and desired outcomes.
- obtain any further information and advice that may help resolve the complaint to all parties' satisfaction.
- reach findings on each of the complaints being reviewed.
- make recommendations that provide practical remedies and creative solutions to complex situations.
- to identify any consequent injustice to the complainant where complaints are upheld and to recommend appropriate redress and
- recommend any service improvements for action by the authority.
Further information will be provided to you at this stage.
If you're not happy with the way your complaint is being handled, you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO). The LGO is responsible for investigating complaints about councils.
You can approach the Ombudsman at any point during the investigation of your complaint, however they will usually advise that you should follow the fully utilise the Council's complaints procedure before they will give consideration to reviewing your complaint after the completion of Stage 3.
Local Government Ombudsman
PO Box 7441
Phone: 0300 061 0614 (adviceline)
Fax: 024 7682 0001
Text: 'call back' to 0762 480 4299