Understanding what happens once you have made a complaint to Local Authority Adult Social Care

What can I expect from your Local Authority Adult Social Care when I make a complaint?

  • To be treated with courtesy and respect

  • To be offered support to help you raise your complaint

  • A timely response to be given where possible

  • An appropriate degree of independence whilst the complaint is being investigated

Government Adult Social Care: COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE says that when you have made a complaint:

  • If they think it can be resolved to your satisfaction by the end of the next working day you will receive a response either by phone or by email (if you have provided one) or by letter and this will end the process.

  • If it is likely that the complaint will not be resolved to your satisfaction by the end or the next working day you will receive a letter of acknowledgement within three working days from receipt of your letter of complaint.

  • Once the complaint is received, they will identify a responsible person who will ensure compliance with the regulations and ensure that action is taken, if necessary, in the light of the outcome of the complaint

  • The responsible person should contact you to discuss your complaint and arrange a Complaint Action Plan to resolve your concerns with you. This means that they will discuss how best to resolve your concerns and what you hope to achieve by raising them.

  • The Complaint Action Plan should be sent out to you within 5 working days of receipt of the complaint.

  • The Complaint Action Plan will include the following:

  • Specific details of the complaint

  • The desired outcome

  • Who will be taking on the responsible person role in investigating the complaint

  • Timescales for completion of the investigation and written response

  • The length of time it will take will depend on

  • what the Responsible person will need to do to gain a full understanding of the complaint to enable them to resolve the issue

  • How many people they will need to speak to

  • How many relevant documents and reports they will need to look at

If there is a problem in keeping to this timescale, they should contact you before it expires to agree an amended timescale If you are making a complaint on behalf of someone else, the Responsible person will need to see the person to ensure the complaint reflects their views and wishes. If they are not seen there should be an explanation given as to why this was not deemed necessary or appropriate in the report sent as response.

Once the investigation is completed you will receive a response, which could be a letter or a formal report which should include:

  • description of the complaint

  • information about the process of the investigation

  • the information gathered

  • If the complaint is upheld or not

  • recommendations for resolution

  • recommendations for service learning and improvement

The Responsible person will also ensure that organisational learning takes place even if the complaint is not upheld.

The timescale for an investigation should be negotiated with you but it is usual for it to be concluded and a written response sent by the Responsible Person by 20 working days from the completion of the Complaint Action Plan. However, it can be up to 65 working days for complex complaints and investigations. If you are making a complaint, it is recommended you cooperate with the investigation process and be aware that some issues are not within the scope of the complaint's procedure.

After the Investigation


Once the investigation is finished and any meetings have been held the Complaints Manager should send you a letter containing:

  • A summary of your complaint

  • What the investigation found and any actions to be taken as a result

  • What to do if you are still unhappy with the answers given

Depending on the investigation the letter may contain:

  • An apology, if relevant

  • What actions will be taken and when, as a result of your complaint

  • Who is responsible for making this happen

  • What steps have been taken to prevent the same thing happening to other people

The letter should be:

  • Balanced, factual and impartial

  • Clear and easy to understand


What do I do if I am not happy with the response?


You can go back to them in writing, quoting the complaint reference number and telling them the parts that you are not happy with or do not understand.

You cannot ask any new questions unless the response has raised issues that you were not previously aware of. Any further issues you have must only relate to the issues and questions in the original complaint.

You can ask for a further response to be in writing or, you can contact the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) The LGSCO can help with complaints about adult social care which is provided by

  • The local authority or providers/services commissioned by the local authority, including through direct payments or individual budgets

  • Other organisations registered by the Care Quality Commission (CQC)

  • Private care providers

  • Volunteers

They will also help if you have not had a response to a complaint made within a reasonable time