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How to make an adult social care complaint

It is important that individuals give feedback about their experiences of adult social care, so that we know what we are doing well and where we need to improve.

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You don’t need to make a formal complaint to comment on your experiences. Feedback can be positive, negative or neutral. Compliments and comments are just as important as complaints.

A complaint can cover any concerns you have about a service or member of staff that have not met the standard you would expect.

The Adult Social Care Statutory Complaints Procedure explains how we handle complaints. The procedure is different from the complaints procedure for the rest of Cornwall Council. 

If you're unhappy with a social care service, it's often worthwhile discussing your concerns early on with the provider of the service, as they may be able to sort the issue out quickly.  Most problems can be dealt with at this stage, but in some cases you may feel more comfortable speaking to someone not directly involved in your care.

Complaints should normally be made within 12 months of an incident or of the matter coming to your attention. This time limit can be extended provided you have good reasons for not making the complaint sooner and it's possible to complete a fair investigation. 

You can make a complaint verbally, in writing, or by email. If you make your complaint verbally, a record of your complaint will be made and you'll be provided with a written copy.

If you are complaining on behalf of someone else, we must have their permission to investigate the complaint. This needs to be in writing. Please contact us for details.

You can make a complaint to Adult Care and Support if we:

  • have done an assessment with you 
  • give you a service
  • give you a direct payment or individual budget

If you're unhappy with a care home or home care and your care is funded or arranged by adult social care, you may wish to raise the issues with the care provider in the first instance. But if you'd prefer not to do that, you can raise your concerns directly with us.

You don’t have to be alone when you make a complaint. You can choose someone you know to speak for you if you want to.

If you need help making your complaint, our complaints team can provide support.  Please contact us for details.

You should expect an acknowledgement and the offer of a discussion about the handling of your complaint within three working days of receiving your complaint.

If you accept, the discussion will cover the period within which a response to your complaint is likely to be sent – there's no set timeframe and this will depend on the nature of your complaint. If, in the end, the response is delayed for any reason, you will be kept informed.

The discussion may also include clarification of the details of your complaint and to establish your desired outcomes.  The local manager is responsible for investigating your complaint.

Once your complaint has been investigated, you'll receive a written response from the local manager. The response will set out the findings and, where appropriate, provide apologies and information about what's being done as a result of your complaint.

It will also include information about how the complaint has been handled and details of your right to take your complaint to the ombudsman.

You can contact the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman at any time.  However, the Ombudsman will usually recommend that you go through our complaints procedure first.