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How to Complain

Are you thinking of complaining to us?

Resources on this page explain when you should register a complaint with us and how to do it in the most efficient way

Watch our video

Read the steps

The Steps


Complain to the organisation involved

Anybody can complain to us. Our service is free. You can complain on somebody’s behalf only if you have their permission or a right to act on their behalf.

But the first thing you should do is complain to the organisation to give them a chance to sort out your problem. You should go through all stages of the organisation’s complaints process. See our Top tips for making a complaint


Have a look at the things we can and cannot look at

Your complaint must be about something we can investigate. We look at complaints about most council services, all types of adult social care services even if it is paid for privately, and some other organisations providing local services.

In most cases, we can only investigate if you:

  • complain to us within 12 months of becoming aware of the matter
  • have been directly affected by the matter - we call this 'personal injustice'

Check it is the right time to complain to us

If you have completed the organisation’s complaints process but are not happy with its response, you can register a complaint with us.

If you have complained to the organisation but have not had a response within a reasonable time, you can also register a complaint with us. We think up to 12 weeks is usually a reasonable time. But this may be longer for complaints about social care, which follow a statutory process.


Register a complaint

If you do not have an account, and would like to check if we can consider your complaint, please register an account and complete our online complaint form.

If you already have an account, please log in.

Find more information on the best way to register a complaint - including what to do if you need help to complain online or want general advice on the complaints process.


How we look at your complaint

We will take a first look at your complaint and advise on the next steps. Then we will assess whether we can and should investigate. If we investigate, we may ask you and the organisation for more information.

We will ask you if you need extra help to use our service and do our best to communicate with you in the way you have requested.


What the outcome will be

We will make a decision on your complaint. If we decided you suffered because of the organisation’s faults, we will recommend how it should put things right for you and potentially other people in the same situation.

We publish our decisions, but don’t use real names or reveal the identity of people involved. We do this to be transparent, increase accountability for what happened, and to share the learning from complaints to help others improve.