Complaints and feedback

We want to hear about your experiences of our services. Complaints and compliments can help us improve the services we provide to all customers. We will investigate all the complaints we receive and respond as quickly as possible.

Feedback

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Complaints

Step 1

Raise the issue directly with the person you have been dealing with, or their immediate manager. Most problems can be resolved this way.

Step 2

If you need to take your complaint further, contact the corporate director of the service you have been dealing with:

Step 3

If you are still not satisfied, you have the right to take your complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman. Complete the form on The Local Government Ombudsman website or call their advice line on 0300 061 0614.

Responses

You can expect an acknowledgement within 3 working days and a full reply within 20 working days. If your complaint raises complex issues that cannot be answered within 20 working days, we will keep you informed of progress until we can fully respond.

If you call or visit one of our offices, our staff will try to help you by answering your query or getting the details needed to investigate it. They will call or write to you with the outcome of the investigation.

Your councillor may be able to help resolve your complaint by pursuing it with the relevant service for you.

You can make a complaint about our services whether you use them or not and will not be disadvantaged in any way by making a complaint or comment. You can also complain if you have been affected by our actions or decisions.

You can either complain on your own behalf or with the help of someone else such as a relative, carer, friend or advocate. We may need to seek consent from you to ensure you agree to the complaint being raised by someone else on your behalf. A member of the complaints team can assist if you need help to make a complaint or require an advocate.

If you have a private arrangement with a social care organisation or provider you will need to raise your complaint with them.

We are only required to deal with complaints about events that happened in the past 12 months. Our complaints procedure cannot change decisions made by a court of law.

Step 1

Speak to the person you are dealing with or their manager (most problems are sorted out this way), or tell us about the complaint by:

You can also read our:

Responses

We will acknowledge your complaint to confirm we have received it and a member of the complaints team will contact you to discuss a plan of action to deal with your concerns. This initial communication will normally take three working days. We aim to respond to most complaints within 20 working days, but additional time is required to investigate more complex complaints. We will keep you informed of any delays in the process. You can expect your complaints to be listened to, to be investigated fairly and responded to.

Step 2

If we have not been able to resolve your complaint, please contact the complaints team using the contact methods above to see if anything further can be done. However, if you are not happy with the response, you can ask the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) to review the way we have dealt with your complaint.

Anyone who funds their own care, including those using a direct payment, has the right to refer their complaints to the LGO.

To contact the LGO:

This complaints procedure is for children, young people and those closely connected with them.

If we can't handle your complaint under the statutory complaints procedure we will record your views as a representation, make sure you are listened to and place your concerns on record.

We are only required to deal with complaints about events that happened in the past 12 months. Contact us for advice if your complaint is before then.

Step 1

Contact us with details of your complaint:

  • write to Kent Children's Social Services, Customer Care, Kroner House, Eurogate Business Park, Ashford, TN24 8XU
  • call 03000 41 03 04
  • email cscomplaints@kent.gov.uk
  • text 0786000 8025, start your message with the word complaint.

We can help you put your complaint in writing or give you advice.

Responses

We will then look into the issues and try to help, and you will receive a written reply from a senior manager. We aim to resolve your complaint within 10 working days, and by 20 working days at the latest. If your complaint will take longer we will keep you informed of the progress.

Step 2

If you aren't satisfied with the first response to your complaint, you have the right to take it further. Read how to take your complaint further.

Complaints about schools and academies

Schools and academies deal with complaints themselves. These are not the responsibility of the Council.

Each school and academy is required to have its own complaints procedure which should be available to parents, pupils and members of the public. In most cases you should be able to find the complaints procedure on the school or academy’s own website; otherwise you can ask the school for a copy. The complaints procedure will focus on resolving concerns as early as possible.

Complaints procedures may vary, however they generally include progression through the following stages:

Stage one:

Raise your complaint with a staff member (though not if they are the subject of the complaint).

Stage two:

Progress your complaint to the head teacher or Head of School if you are not satisfied with the first response.

Stage three:

Progress your complaint to the Chair of Governors.

Stage four

Progress your complaint to the Governing Body’s complaints appeal panel.

If your complaint is about the headteacher write to the Chair of Governors for the school.

If you go through all 4 stages and are not happy with the response, you can write to the Secretary of State for Education about a maintained school or to the Education Funding Agency if you are dealing with an academy. You will need to list the steps you have already taken and the responses you have received. For a complaint about a maintained school write to:

The Secretary of State
Department for Education
Sanctuary Buildings
London SW1

You can also submit a form online.

To complain about our response to a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act or related legislation:

Step 1

Send full details of your complaint asking for an internal review to the Head of Paid Service, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1XQ.

Step 2

If you are still unhappy, you can raise the matter with the Information Commissioner:

If you suspect a Data Protection breach, please email details to dataprotection@kent.gov.uk

Our county councillors all adhere to the Kent Code of Conduct for Members.

Step 1

Read:

Complaints alleging that councillors have breached the code of conduct are reviewed by a Monitoring Officer and an Independent Person. They decide if any action should be taken and if the matter should be referred to the Standards Committee.

They will not deal with complaints about things that are not covered by the Kent Code of Conduct for Members. Your complaint must state why you think the councillor has not followed the Kent Code of Conduct for Members.

Step 2

To send your complaint:

Customer feedback performance

Our Annual Complaints, Comments and Compliments Report for 2014/15 (PDF, 316.8 KB) shows the number of complaints we received between 1 April 2012 and 31 March 2013. It also shows the number of complaints acknowledged and responded to within the agreed timescale.

Annual letter from the Local Government Ombudsman

The Local Government Ombudsman provides feedback to us on the cases against the council it receives.
Read our annual letter from the Local Government Ombudsman 2014/15 (PDF, 25.2 KB)