Our first look at your complaint
We will acknowledge we have received your complaint. If we need any more information at this stage we will contact you.
If you have shown us that you have complained formally to the organisation involved, our Assessment Team will then decide whether we can or should look at your complaint in more detail. We cannot look at every complaint we receive so must decide whether the issue is significant enough to warrant an investigation. We will write to you to explain the outcome.
For more information about our assessment process read our Assessment Code. However you do not need to read this to make a complaint.
How we investigate your complaint
If we decide your complaint needs more detailed work, we will pass it to our Investigation Team and tell you who will deal with your complaint.
We may then ask you and the organisation you’re complaining about for more information. We have the same powers as the High Court to get information from organisations. We may not need to investigate to the extent that the courts might. We will keep you updated on the progress with your complaint.
When we think we have enough information to make a fair decision, we will share a draft decision with you. We will usually send you copies of the information the organisation gives us, but sometimes they will provide sensitive information that we cannot pass onto you.
We will give you a chance to comment or give us any further information you want us to consider before we make a final decision.
When we make a final decision we will write to you and explain the reasons. We will send a copy of the decision to the organisation you complained about.
We are independent and make impartial decisions. We do not take sides.
How long it will take
Most complaints are decided in 26 weeks. However some complicated cases can take longer for us to gather enough information to make a fair decision.
If you need help using our service
We will do our best to communicate with you in the way you have requested. However we must use public money carefully so what we can offer will depend on our resources (for example staff time and money).
For more information see our Reasonable Adjustments Policy.
See our leaflets page for information about our service in EasyRead and other formats.
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What we expect from you
We will give you time to respond, but we expect you to let us know if you are not able to do so.
We will treat you politely and with respect. We expect you to treat our staff in the same way. We will not tolerate:
- abusive, intimidating or threatening behaviour
- swearing and offensive language
- shouting on the phone
- racial abuse, or
- any form of discrimination.
For more information read our factsheet on how we manage unreasonable complainant behaviour.