- How do I provide feedback?
- What if I need help to provide my comment?
- Confidentiality in the feedback process
- What happens when I provide feedback?
- How we will keep in touch
- What is a compliment?
- What happens when I make a compliment?
- What is a suggestion?
- What happens when I make a suggestion?
- What is a complaint?
- What happens when I complain?
- Three stage complaint procedure
- Local Government Ombudsman
- Customer handling policy
- What is a representation?
- What happens when I make a representation?
As an organisation we welcome feedback and are committed to learning from any feedback, positive or negative. We take all feedback (complaints, compliments, suggestions and representations) received seriously. This document details how we deal with any feedback that we receive.
How do I provide feedback?
You can provide feedback yourself, or a family member, friend or representative can contact us.
There are a number of ways you can provide feedback:
- Via our Feedback Form
- Via our Customer Services Team on 0345 045 5200 (Minicom 01480 376 743)
- In writing to Cambridgeshire County Council, Customer Services, Latham Rd, Stukeley Meadows Industrial Estate, Huntingdon, PE29 6YE
- Via your County Councillor
- For Data Protection complaints and queries, phone 01223 699 137 or email firstname.lastname@example.org (see Section 3 for more details)
- For Social Care complaints and feedback, email CustomerCareTeam@cambridgeshire.gov.uk for adults' services or ChildrensComplaintsAndFeedbackTeam@cambridgeshire.gov.uk for children's services (see Sections 1 and 2 for more details)
What if I need help to provide my comment?
If you need assistance in providing feedback, please contact our Customer Services Team (0345 045 5200). If you would prefer to discuss this in person, you can also be supported to provide feedback at our main office receptions, or in our libraries where staff can support you in completing the online form.
Confidentiality in the feedback process
We will maintain the confidentiality of all personal information and only disclose it to other relevant parties with your permission or if we are otherwise legally obliged to do so. However, if we are informed of anything that makes us think that an individual is unsafe or at risk of being harmed, we will pass this on to the appropriate authority or service for action. Having your personal details helps us work with you in the best way through our feedback processes, however if you wish to make the complaint anonymously, please discuss this with our Customer Service Team. If you are raising an issue on behalf of someone else, we reserve the right to inform that person that you have contacted us.
What happens when I provide feedback?
Once we have received your comments we will review them and determine whether your feedback is a complaint, compliment, suggestion or representation. Further information is provided on each of the categories below.
How we will keep in touch
Whether you contact us online, via email, or telephone, we will usually respond to you via email unless you notify us otherwise. If you write to us, we will respond to you in the same manner unless you request a different form of communication.
We will always do our best to respect the method of communication you have requested, and if we are unable to do this, we will tell you the reason.
What is a compliment?
A compliment is an expression of praise or gratitude about an individual, a team, a service, or a policy.
What happens when I make a compliment?
We will let you know we have received your compliment and we will pass it onto the individual and/or the service to whom it relates.
What is a suggestion?
A suggestion is an idea or plan put forward for consideration.
What happens when I make a suggestion?
We will let you know we have received your suggestion and we will pass it onto the service to which it relates to consider your ideas. We will let you know whether we have made any changes as a result of your suggestion.
What is a complaint?
A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction with Cambridgeshire County Council that you believe needs resolution. Specifically, it is:
- Where a service is delayed or is unsatisfactory
- Where we have not delivered our statutory responsibilities
- Where you are unhappy with an employee’s attitude or behaviour
- Where you believe we have demonstrated poor customer service
- Where you are unhappy or concerned with how we have handled your personal information (See section 3 further information on Data Protection complaints)
- Where you are dissatisfied with how we have delivered policies, or where you are unhappy with a policy
The complaints procedure should not be used in the following circumstances:
- Concerns relating to services provided more than 12 months ago (unless it is an issue you have only been made aware of in the past 12 months) Safeguarding concerns, these should immediately be referred to:
- A request for a service, for information, or clarification of policy or procedure
- Issues relating to individual schools which should go directly to the schools
- A professional disagreement by a partner organisation Legal action, compensation or judicial review
- An appeal against a decision
- School admissions appeals
- Reporting a highway issue for the first time
- Complaints about a County Councillor
- Complaints about an MP
What happens when I complain?
If you make a complaint online, you will immediately receive confirmation that your complaint has been logged by the Council. No matter the method used to submit your complaint, we will acknowledge receipt of your complaint and endeavour to provide a response within 10 working days of receipt.
If your complaint is about Social Care, we will contact you separately to confirm the process and timelines that we will follow and which officer will be dealing with your complaint. (See Sections 1 and 2 for more information.)
Our processes follow the three stages set out below.
Three stage complaint procedure
In the first instance of receiving your concerns, we will always try to resolve the issue in the simplest and most direct was possibly before entering the formal complaints process. Where this cannot happen and the complaint enters Stage 1, the manager directly involved in the matter being complained about will conduct an initial investigation into the concerns and will respond.
We will review the information you have provided and respond to you within 10 working days. We monitor compliance with our policies to ensure that timelines are being met, and so if it is not possible to respond within this timeframe, we will contact you and explain why.
Within our response to you, we will let you know if we agree with all or part of your complaint, apologise where failures have been made, and consider appropriate actions to take to remedy any failures. We will ensure that we learn from any mistakes to help improve our service. If the complaint is about a partner organisation or an organisation acting on our behalf, we will let you know and will advise what (if any) action we take on this.
If it is the case that we do not agree with the issues raised in your complaint, we will explain why.
Finally, we will review lessons learned from complaints and explore themes that emerge within services to improve the quality of our service across the Council. All comments and complaints are taken seriously and given fair consideration.
We expect that, where possible, all relevant information is provided to enable us to investigate the complaint or issue as fully as possible. Introducing new information at a late stage, which you expect to be taken into account and commented on, can hinder our ability to respond within the appropriate timescales. To help us resolve your issue, please ensure that any questions you want to raise are concise and clear and are within the context of your complaint or issue.
We will use our judgement to determine if issues raised represent a change to an issue we are already responding to or if it is a new complaint which will also need to be dealt with in accordance with this Feedback Policy.
Why is the process different for Social Care?
The way we deal with complaints relating to Social Care services is set out by Central Government. As a result, the process and timelines for dealing with complaints may vary dependent upon the type of complaint being made. Please refer to Sections 1 and 2 for more information.
What if I disagree with your response to my complaint?
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of our investigation into your complaint, you can contact us again to discuss why you are dissatisfied and for us to consider possible next steps and the next stage.
Please note: This applies to standard complaints only. Please see sections 1-3 for Social Care and Data Protection related complaints.
You can ask for a senior manager to review the response to your complaint. You can do this by contacting the person who responded to your initial complaint at Stage 1. This senior manager will investigate and aim to respond within 10 working days. If they are not able to provide a full response within the timescale, they will contact you and give a date by which you can expect a full response.
If the senior manager’s Stage 2 response does not satisfy you, you may ask the Chief Executive to review your case. The Chief Executive, or delegated senior officer, will investigate and aim to respond within 10 working days. If they are not able to provide a full response within the timescale, they will contact you and give a date by which you can expect a full response. The Chief Executive’s or delegated senior officer’s decision will be the final response from the Council.
Local Government Ombudsman
If you remain dissatisfied with the response from the Council after your complaint has been considered at all three stages of our standard complaints process, we recommend that you contact the Local Government Ombudsman who adjudicates on the effectiveness of local authority complaints:
- Local Government Ombudsman website
- Address: PO Box 4471, Coventry, CV4 0EH
- Telephone: 0300 061 0614
Customer handling policy
The vast majority of complaints are handled effectively through the procedures outlined in this Feedback Policy. Very occasionally, however, customers may be pursuing complaints and other issues in ways which we believe are unhelpful. Our Customer handling policy describes how the Council may deal with customers where the customer is unreasonably persistent or otherwise acts unreasonably. This policy, together with guidance for staff on the relevant procedures, helps Cambridgeshire County Council deal with customers in ways which are consistent and fair.
What is a representation?
A representation is a comment or complaint about County Council policy or procedure (rather than how we have applied a policy or procedure). A representation can also be made about allocation of resources or the nature or availability of services. We understand that the term ‘representation’ isn’t well known, so we will tell you if we think your comment or complaint is a representation as well as outlining the timescales and processes we will follow.
What happens when I make a representation?
We will let you know that we have received your representation and will show your representation to the Director responsible for the relevant subject area for them to consider. If your representation relates to a policy set by another organisation, we will advise you who you need to contact.
If the Director feels that the policy, legislation or funding decision should be changed, they can take it forward for further consideration and will advise you of our next steps. Please note: Cambridgeshire County Council’s elected members will then have the final decision on whether it is changed.
If the Director feels that the policy, legislation or funding decision is appropriate and should not be changed, we will let you know the reason for this decision, explaining that this is the Council’s final decision on this representation at this time. However, if we receive a significant number of similar representations, and it is within our power and responsibilities, we will consider re-investigating the concerns raised again.
The way we deal with complaints relating to how we handle your personal information under Data Protection is outlined under law (for example, the General Data Protection Regulation). As a result, where a complaint relates to Data Protection matters your complaint will be reviewed and responded to by the Council’s Data Protection Officer (DPO).
Where a complaint covers more than one area, if there is any Data Protection elements to your complaint this will be investigated separately from your main complaint. We will endeavour to ensure you are given one comprehensive response but depending on the matter concerned we may need to issue a separate response to your Data Protection complaint.
How will your complaint be handled?
Your complaint will be investigated by the Information Governance Team within Cambridgeshire County Council and will be responded to within one month.
Where your request is complex, legislation allows us to extend this period for up to a further two months. If we need to apply this extension, we will inform you within one month of receipt of your original request. Once the investigation is complete this will be reviewed by the Data Protection Officer before the final response is issued to you.
Where you have exercised any of your rights under Data Protection law in your complaint, these will be responded to as part of your complaint.
Where can I get additional support?
If you are not satisfied with our response to your complaint you can contact the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) who oversees compliance with Data Protection laws within the United Kingdom. They can be contacted via: