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Complaints about the Safeguarding Decision


On 1 April 2009 the Government introduced a single complaints procedure for Adult Social Services and the National Health Service. This means that if a complaint involves two or more organisations, the person complaining should receive one co-ordinated response.

For further information, please refer to:

Who may make a Complaint

A complaint can be made by anyone who has applied for or is in receipt of a service, including a carer, or a person acting on their behalf.

No service will be delayed, withdrawn or suspended because a complaint has been made.

The focus of the complaints procedure is to achieve the best outcome for both the individual concerned and the service and every complaint should be seen as an opportunity to make care better.

What may be Complained about?

Complaints may relate to the following:

  • The quality or appropriateness of a service;
  • Delays in decision-making or the provision of a service;
  • Failure to deliver a service;
  • Attitude or behaviour of staff;
  • Application of eligibility or assessment criteria.

The complaints procedure does not apply where:

  • The complaint is about the actions of another local authority or an independent provider;
  • The complaint is about a Court decision;
  • The complaint has already been considered and investigated;
  • The complaint is in relation to an event that occurred more than 12 months before (although there is a discretion to extend this time limit for example where there are good reasons why the person was not able to bring the complaint earlier);
  • The complaint should be dealt with under court proceedings, criminal proceedings, disciplinary proceedings, grievance proceedings or an application to a tribunal (for example in relation to a decision made by an approved social worker).

Giving People Support and Advice when they Complain

There are many reasons why someone might need support (e.g. disability, language, age) and there are a number of services that help.

The Adult Social Care Complaints Unit can provide advice and support to people who receive services and their representatives.

Advocacy can be used to help some people to make a complaint and to provide support given during the investigative process.

Action to be Taken on Receiving Complaints about the Safeguarding Process

Any person expressing a concern about a service should be listened to, so that the nature of the complaint is properly understood and wherever possible the issue causing concern can be quickly resolved.

The initial contact the service has with a person who is unhappy with the service they have been given is key. 

If it is clear that a person wishes to make a complaint about the safeguarding process, this should be passed to the relevant Safeguarding Adults Manager/Coordinator, see Local Contacts.

Where a quick resolution is possible without further investigation, for example through an apology, this should be done so long as the complainant is happy with this outcome and there are no risks to others using services, for example because the complaint raises serious issues.

After receiving a complaint where a quick resolution is not possible, the Adult Social Care Complaints Unit should be notified within one working day and the complaint should be acknowledged within 3 working days. It will then be dealt with in accordance with the relevant complaints process.

If any person does not feel able to raise his or her complaint with the Safeguarding Adults Manager/Coordinator, he or she may contact the Adult Social Care Complaints Manager in the relevant area.

The contact details are set out below - to follow.

Learning Lessons

The Adult Social Care Complaints Unit will ensure that a full record is kept of complaints made under this procedure, their outcomes and the lessons learned, together with any actions taken in response to improve services.

This information will be disseminated on a regular basis to all managers.