Time Limit for making a Complaint
There is a time limit of 12 months from when the matter being complained about occurred, to when a complaint may be made. After this time, a complaint will not normally be considered.
However, the 12 month time limit does not apply where the local authority is satisfied that the complainant had good reasons for not making the complaint within that time limit and where it is still possible to investigate the complaint effectively and fairly.
Acknowledgement/receipt of complaint must be made within 3 working days.
The standard timescale for a formal investigation will be 3 months.
The standard timescale for the overall life of the complaint will be 6 months,
Otherwise a new plan of action must be agreed/negotiated with the complainant.
Who may complain?
Section 5 of the Regulation (2009) requires local authorities to consider complaints made by someone who:
Is receiving or had received services from the authority
Is affected, or likely to be affected, by the action, omission or decision of the authority
A complaint may be made by a representative, acting on behalf of a person who, has died, or is unable to make the complaint themselves because of:
(i) physical incapacity, or
(ii) lack of capacity within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 or
(iii) has requested that a representative act on their behalf (proof must be provided in this instance).
A complaint by a representative will not be considered if the authority is satisfied that the representative is not acting in the best interests of the person on whose behalf the complaint is being made. If this occurs, the authority will inform the representative of the reason for this decision in writing.
If it is considered that a complaint is outside of these regulations, the complainant will be notified in writing of this, outlining how this decision was reached.
What may be complained about?
Under regulation 6, the local authority has a duty to use these procedures to handle complaints which are received on or after 1st April 2009 and which relate to its social services functions, or any function under arrangements made between it and an NHS body in relation to the exercise of the health-related functions of a local authority.
On receipt of a complaint.
A complaint may be received anywhere and by any person in the department. Acknowledgement of receipt for the complaint should be made within 3 working days. This may be done either verbally, in writing or electronically.
The more serious the complaint, the more important it is to ensure that the investigation is seen as fair and transparent, with a sufficient degree of independence to be credible.
What is excluded from the Complaints Procedure?
Under Regulation (2009) 8, the following complaints are not to be dealt with under the statutory complaints procedure:
(i) Complaint by another organisation.
(ii) Complaints by an employee of the local authority about any matter relating to that employment.
(iii) Complaints that are the same as a complaint already resolved outside of the complaints procedure, i.e., which has been made verbally and has been resolved to the complainants satisfaction within 24 hours that the complaint was made.
(iv) Complaints where the subject matter has previously been investigated under these procedures (or procedures in operation prior to this procedure).
(v) Any complaint which is being, or has been, investigated by the Local Government Ombudsman.
(vi) Complaints arising out of the alleged failure to comply with a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Mar 15, 2012 05:43 AM