Adult social care complaints, comments and feedback

How your complaint is dealt with

Who should I complain to?

Complaints about services that are privately arranged:

If your complaint is about an independent care provider with whom you have made a private arrangement to fund your own care, you will need to raise your complaint with them directly.

Complaints about services arranged by the council:

If your complaint is about an independent service provider and your support is fully or partially funded by the council you should raise your complaint with the provider first. If you do not feel able to resolve the problem with the provider yourself, please contact the complaints team who will be able to help you, the Council can contact the provider on your behalf.  

Complaints about Council Services

The time limit for making a complaint is 12 months from the date that you became aware of the problem. If you are unhappy about a service or the way you have been treated, raise this with the person concerned or their manager, or contact the Customer Services and Information Team.

 Please let us know if:

  • we tell you that we will do something but we do nothing
  • we take too long to do something we have promised to do
  • we tell you that we cannot help you, when you believe we should
  • you think a member of our staff is disrespectful
  • you are dissatisfied with any other aspect of our service

As soon as you let us know that you have a concern or complaint, we will contact you to agree the best way forward.

Your complaint will be acknowledged within 3 days, whichever way you decide to make it. It will be taken seriously and all efforts taken to resolve it quickly and effectively. We will agree with you the best way to reach a satisfactory outcome and to do this we will:

  • go through the reason for your complaint step-by-step to make sure that we understand your concern properly.
  • let you know the name and contact details of the person who will investigate your complaint.
  • ask you what you would like to happen as a result of your complaint and tell you if we think this is realistic.
  • let you know when you can expect a response

We can investigate a complaint at two levels:

Quick response

We hope that most concerns can be settled by talking to the person you usually see, as they will be in the best position to find an appropriate solution. If you tell them what it is that is worrying you, they will try to put things right as quickly as possible. It is important to give them all the information to enable them to assess your concerns correctly and resolve them quickly. If you are not able to sort things out with this person, your complaint should be passed to their manager. You can do this by talking to the manager in person, on the phone, or by writing to them.

Alternatively you can contact the Customer Services and Information Team.

Full investigation

For matters that cannot be readily resolved by talking to the person you most often see - because they involve complex, serious issues or are taking too long to investigate - we will carry out a full investigation.  

The Customer Services and Information Team will work with the investigating officer to agree an action plan and discuss with you whether you might benefit from third-party assistance, such as an advocate or another support service, and whether mediation could help the process. We will contact you regularly - by phone, letter, emails or to update you on the progress of your complaint. Your complaint will be investigated either by a manager of a different social care service department or by an independent person who does not work for the council. Whoever carries out the investigation will compile a report, which will include recommendations for improving the service, if appropriate, and which will be signed off by a senior manager.

In line with the 2009 regulations, someone from the council will contact you to agree how your complaint will be investigated and agree a timescale with you. It is our aim to respond to complaints within 20 working days but this may take longer depending on the complexity of your case. We will discuss this with you.

Adult Safeguarding Enquiries or Criminal Investigations

In some rare circumstances a complaint might have to be put on hold whilst there is an adults safeguarding enquiry going on or a criminal investigation is taking place. In these situations each case will be considered individually and assessed to see whether it is appropriate to proceed with a complaint. If it is decided that the complaint needs to be put on hold you will be written to setting out the reason why and the complaints team will keep you updated.


An advocate is an independent person with suitable training and experience who can speak for you and express your views when you find it difficult to do so yourself. They will also help make sure you understand what is happening. The Advocate only role is to help you be involved and make sure your voice is heard. They  work independently of the council.

How do you get advocacy support?

To get the support of an advocate the Council needs to work out if you have a substantial difficulty in:

  • Understanding the work being undertaken with you, or
  • You have difficulty in clearly expressing your view about what you need for your care and support,
  • And you have no one suitable around you to support your understanding and involvement

A social worker will assess this when you, or someone for you, first contacts the council.

If you think that you, or someone you are supporting, might need advocacy, please contact our Access Team on:

Someone will talk about your option, or refer you to the right service to help you. 


We hope that most complaints can be resolved directly with you and that you are happy with the outcome. However, if your complaint is difficult to resolve, or if there is a breakdown in communication,mediation can be useful. Mediation is a good way of resolving disagreements. We will appoint an impartial mediator, who has no connection with the council, with a view to helping us reach a conclusion that all parties agree with.

The mediator may spend time meeting each party separately to make sure he/she understands the complaint issues. They may then bring both parties together to discuss the problem. This process gives everyone a chance to think about how they could put thesituation right and reach a satisfactory outcome.

If you want to make a comment, complaint or compliment, you can contact us by telephone, email, or letter:

Room 149
Wandsworth High Street
London SW18 2PU

Freephone: 0800 023 2011
Fax: 020 8871 7447

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