Complaints – how to be heard
If you are unhappy with the service you have received from the Youth Offending Service, you have the right to complain.
We aim for high standards but sometimes things do go wrong. Unless you tell us, however, we will not know that you are unhappy. If you contact us, we will be able to work with you to put things right as soon as possible.
This leaflet explains how, with your help and that of the staff working with you, we can sort out your complaint. Guidance from the Welsh Assembly Government tells us how we must sort out complaints.
Looking after your personal information
If you make a complaint, we will respect your right to confidentiality. Although we will need to share the information you give us with others who might be dealing with your complaint, we will only do this if necessary. We will not pass on any information unless we have to do so by law, and will only pass on as much as is necessary.
There are three stages in the complaints process:
- Stage 1 – Local Resolution. If you don’t want to try this you can go straight to the next stage.
- Stage 2 – Formal Consideration
- Stage 3 – Independent Panel Review
Stage 1 – Local resolution
The first step in sorting out a problem is to contact someone involved in providing the service or, if you prefer, our complaints officer. This is known as local resolution.
Don’t be afraid to complain. We will take your complaint seriously and will welcome all your comments.
You may contact us in any way you choose – you don’t have to write it down. We will write to you when your problem has been resolved.
If your complaint is about a change to your service, we will usually try to deal with the problem first before making this change. If we are unable to postpone the change, we will explain why.
Can I ask someone to help me with my complaint?
You have the right to an advocate (someone who will help you state your point of view). If you are under 18 we will usually find you an advocate. If you are over 18 we will tell you where to find one.
How long will it take?
We should be able to resolve your problem within two weeks (10 working days). We cannot take longer than this unless you agree to give us more time.
How will we sort it out?
We will arrange to meet to discuss the problem so that we can resolve it for you.
- We may agree to do what you ask
- We may have to apologise to you for having made mistakes
- We may have to explain things better
- We may suggest mediation – that means that we find someone else who will listen to what each of us has to say and suggest how we might move forward
- The person looking into your complaint might need to read your file and ask questions before deciding on what should be done
What can I do if I’m still not happy?
You may ask for your complaint to be investigated by someone who is not involved with your service at all. This is known as Stage 2 or formal consideration.
Stage 2 – Formal consideration
If you are not satisfied with the way your complaint has been resolved at Stage 1, you can ask for it to progress to Stage 2. At this stage, the person who investigates your complaint is not directly involved in providing your service.
Remember: you may still try mediation or another way forward if you want to do so.
The person looking into your complaint at this stage will
- Clarify the complalnt
- Talk to those involved, and check the facts
- Try to find a way of solving the problem 3
- Recommend a solution
- Write a report
You will usually receive a full copy of this report. If it contains information which you are not allowed to see (perhaps because the person who provided it hasn’t given their permission), you will still receive the rest of the report.
If you are under 18 we will also ask someone who is completely independent of the Council to keep an eye on your complaint. This person will not investigate the complaint itself, but will make sure that all parties have been heard, that the complaint has been handled well and fairly and also that the report is accurate and complete.
What happens next?
The Head of Service will read the report and inform you of the final decision.
How long will this take?
We will respond to you within five weeks. If this is impossible (for example when there is another investigation already going on), we will write to explain the delay.
What can I do if I’m still not happy?
Stage 3 – Independent Panel Hearing
You may go on to Stage 3 and have your complaint reviewed by an independent panel. The three members of this panel are completely independent of the Council.
After you have received our response, you must inform us within a month if you want your complaint to be reviewed by the independent panel.
None of the panel members work for the Council, but one of them will have some knowledge of the work of social services. The three members will all study your complaint.
The panel will contact you directly to arrange a private meeting near your home. An advocate will be allowed to speak for you and you can take a friend along for support.
The panel members will look at the way your complaint was handled and will consider all the facts again. They will write a report on their conclusions and recommendations.
You will receive a copy of their report within a week of the hearing. The Chief Officer, Social Care and Health will also get a copy and he or she must write to you within three weeks to explain the final decision.
You may also go to this panel if we haven’t sorted out your complaint three months after we first received it.
To contact the Independent Complaints Secretariat
Business Services Centre Pontypool
Mamhilad Park Estate
Telephone: 01495 332487
What if I’m not sure who to complain to? Social services work closely with lots of other organisations. You can complain to us about problems with any of your health or social care services. We will listen to you and if you would like us to do so, we will pass on your complaint to another service. You will not have to go and talk to anyone else.
You may have a complaint about a service we have arranged for you with another care provider, such as a residential care home, a home care agency, or a day service.
Each organisation will have its own complaints process and we will usually send your complaint to them and make sure they deal with it. We will tell you exactly what we are doing.
If .you have already complained to the other organisation, and you are not happy with their reply, then we will deal with your complaint at Stage 2.
If your complaint is about something we have provided jointly with another organisation, e.g. a package of care from both health and social care staff, we will look at your complaint together and usually send you one response.
To contact our complaints officer(s)
Freephone: 0800 652 4121
Telephone: 01633 644672
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax:01633644577
Could I complain to anyone else if I am still not satisfied? You can complain to the Public Services Ombudsman about any aspect of public services. However, the Ombudsman prefers people to use the council’s complaint process first.
Public Services Ombudsman
1 Ffordd yr Hen Gae
Telephone: 016 5664 1150
Email: email@example.com www.ombudsman-wales.org
The Commissioners for Children and Older People can also investigate complaints.
Children’s Commissioner for Wales
Telephone: 0179 276 5600
Commissioner for Older People in Wales
Mount Stuart Square
Telephone: 08442 640670 Fax: 02920786580
The Care Council for Wales regulates professional social care workers and has the power to look into allegations of misconduct.
Care Council for Wales
South Gate House,
Telephone: 029 2022 6257
Fax: 029 2038 4764
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.ccwales.org.uk
If you want to let us know when you are pleased with what we have done or you want to know more about ‘How to be Heard’, or need someone to help you, contact the Customer Relations Officer for Children or Adults at:
Monmouthshire County Council Social Care and Health
Telephone: 01633 644672 or (Freephone) 0800 652 4121
Adults – email@example.com
Children – firstname.lastname@example.org. uk
This page was drafted by the Association of Social Care Communicators Wales in conjunction with the Welsh Assembly Government.
At the time of printing this information was correct. We try very hard to keep information up to date but cannot be held responsible for any changes. If you do find any errors please contact the Customer Relations team on 01633 644672
If you would like this information in another language, Braille, large print, tape or a range of electronic formats please contact the’ Customer Relations Team on 01633 644672.