Here are some more suggestions about what to say in your letter. Find the section that best reflects the issue you want to complain about:

Every local authority has to have a complaints process. Your local authority should explain on their website how they deal with complaints and how long they will take to reply. You can also phone them and ask for a copy of the social care complaints procedure. A social services department must have a member of staff who deals with complaints. This person is called the complaints manager. The complaints manager may bring in a person who is independent of the social services department to help resolve the complaint.

Your complaint

Your complaint must be made within a year of the event you are complaining about. Your local authority can accept a complaint after this in exceptional circumstances.

You can make a complaint over the phone. But, for most people, it is easier to complain in writing. You can spend time making sure you’ve said everything you want to say, and clearly. It’s also easier to stay calm. You can keep a copy which could be really important if you have to take it further.

Golden rules of complaining

The complaint should come from the person who receives the care unless they:

  • are a child, in which case it should come from their parents or legal guardians, or
  • lack mental capacity, in which case it should come from a family member or close friend, or an independent advocate who is working with them to help them express their views.

In both cases the person should have the opportunity to express their views if they are able to. The complaint should be based on these as far as possible.

However you complain, there are six golden rules:

  • Be clear what the problem is and that you are making a formal complaint.
  • Ask for their help in solving the problem - most people at least try to help if asked.
  • Stick to the point; don’t let it turn into a rant.
  • Keep your tone calm and don’t be rude; even if they have been very rude or off-hand with you. Having the ‘moral high ground’ can be very helpful.
  • Be clear what you want to happen as a result of your complaint.
  • Ask them not to make the change you are complaining about until your complaint has been dealt with. Say why it will be a problem if they go ahead without waiting.

For these reasons, we advise you to complain in writing if you can. Once you have written your complaint, you can either post or email it. If you post it, use 'signed for' (recorded) delivery, if possible.

How to write a complaint letter 

Before you send your complaint letter

Ask a friend or family member to read it through. If you're getting help from an advice worker or advocate they can help you with this. They can help check that you have included everything and explained things clearly.

Keep copies of everything

  • Keep all the letters you receive, copies of those you send and any evidence you have sent to support your complaint.
  • Store them safely in date order in a folder or ring binder. It will make it easier if you have everything together to show your adviser or solicitor if you need to take things further.