You can complain to us by telephone, email, in writing or in person. If possible you should first raise your concerns with the person providing your service or their manager.

We are pleased to hear from anyone who has comments or complaints about our services as these help us to plan and improve our services.

You can also go direct to the council's Complaints Manager by post: Complaint and Feedback Team, Civic Centre, Burdon Road, Sunderland, SR2 7DN

Or by using the contacts at the bottom of this page.

How are complaints dealt with?

Not all complaints are dealt with in exactly the same way. Within the People Directorate there are two main ways of dealing with a complaint.

  • A Statutory Complaints Procedure covers complaints made about adult social care services
  • Complaints about other services provided by the People Directorate will be considered through the Council's Corporate Complaints Procedure or the separate Children's Services Statutory Complaints Procedure (links at the bottom of this page).

Don't worry if you don't know which procedure to use, the Complaints Manager will make sure your complaint goes into the right one.

Delay in making a complaint

It's important to make a complaint within 12 months of the incident. Complaints reported after 12 months become difficult to investigate and we will only do so if there are special circumstances surrounding the delay.

The Statutory Complaints Procedure - Adult Services

There is a single complaints procedure covering health services (the NHS) and adult social care services (provided by the council).

This procedure can be used by or on behalf of any adult we have the power or duty to provide a service to. A complaint may come from a service user, parent, carer, friend of relative or anyone else we feel has a close enough interest in the case.

The first stage of this procedure is called the Local Resolution by the council.

Local Resolution by the council

When dealing with complaints under this procedure we will:

  • Acknowledge a complaint within three working days - this can be written or verbal
  • Where clarification is needed we will contact you to discuss this.
  • Agree a timescale for investigating and responding to each complaint on a case-by-case basis.

We will provide you, within the agreed timescale, with:

  • A single response covering all aspects of the complaint. This will usually be in writing, unless this isn't appropriate to your needs. Also those complaints that have been instantly resolved will not automatically receive a written response.
  • Details of how to take your complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman (stage two of the procedure) if you are not happy with the response.

The second stage of the process, if you are unsatisfied with our response, is to contact the Local Government Ombudsman, via the link at the bottom of this page.

Other things you can do

If you prefer you can contact other people if you are unhappy with the service, for example one of your local Councillors, your MP or a solicitor.

Help and support

You might want someone to help you to make your complaint. This person is called and advocate. An advocate does not investigate your complaint.

There are a number of advocacy services available and the Complaints Manager can offer help in signposting you to advocacy services if you wish.