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Complaint in relation to adult social care

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.

Who to contact

Tel: 0191 561 2464 or 0782 708 4212 (0191 520 5552 if outside of normal office hours)

Write: Complaint and Feedback Team, City Hall, Plater Way, Sunderland SR1 3AA

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.

Full details on the statutory adults complaints procedure (pdf).

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 & Social Care Ombudsman if you are not happy with the response.

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.

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.

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.

How to complain if your social care is provided by a private agency

We recognise our responsibility as a commissioner of services to the public and we want to hear people's comments and feedback about the service they receive, whether it is positive or negative. The regulations effectively allow for the council to investigate complaints about services it has commissioned.

We do at times share information about complaints with other people to ensure and maintain provision of quality services. For example we may share information in respect of the complaint with:

  • The Social Work Team for any appropriate action by the social worker
  • The Procurement Team and the Social Care Governance Team who collate information about the externally provided services we commission and who also monitor the quality of those services

And, when it is appropriate, the Care Quality Commission and Safeguarding Adults Team

How to complain if you fund your own social care

If you fund your own social care and wish to complain about a service, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman may be able to help. It is a free service and the Ombudsman will investigate complaints in a fair and independent way.

In most cases the Ombudsman will only consider a complaint once the care provider has been given a reasonable opportunity to deal with the situation.

Complaints about adult safeguarding

There is a separate complaints procedure for complaints about Safeguarding.

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