Compliments, complaints and comments
Every organisation has procedures to follow on how to make a complaint when something goes wrong.
The following provides information about how to make a complaint about a school and how to make a complaint about a council service. Organisations also welcome compliments and positive feedback when things go well as it provides valuable learning about what works well for families.
How to make a complaint about a school
Complaints about schools (including free schools and academies) should, with few exceptions, be directed to the school themselves. This is because the day to day running of schools is the responsibility of the head teacher / governing body. Local authorities can only intervene in very specific circumstances and cannot overturn a decision made properly and legally by the governing body.
They may, however, work with and advise a school and its governing body, particularly where statutory responsibilities or duties exist (for example, where discrimination has been alleged, or a complaint has been made about the curriculum).
Concerns can often be resolved by speaking to the head teacher or another staff member, but if this does not prove to be possible, you should consider making a formal complaint.
Every school has a complaints policy, though the processes they detail may vary, and parents are entitled to ask for a copy of this.
Your formal complaint to the school should make it clear:
- Why you are complaining
- Who you have spoken to already
- What you want to happen as a result of your complaint
Complaints about a school’s SEN support should be directed to the school in question. Further information on this process can be found at SEN support complaints
How to make a complaint about a GCC Children’s Service
Gloucestershire County Council welcomes all feedback and takes all complaints seriously. We will do our best to seek resolution, learn from feedback and, wherever possible, improve the services we provide to children, young people, parents and carers.
It is important, for these reasons, that we are made aware of your concerns. You can give us feedback using any of the following methods:
- You can call us on 01452 427614.
- You can send us an e-mail at email@example.com.
- You can fill in an online form.
- You can contact a staff member within the team / department about which you wish to complain. They will inform us of your concerns.
- You can send a letter to ‘Complaints Manager (Children's Services), Complaints Team, Gloucestershire County Council, Shire Hall, Westgate Street, Gloucester, GL1 2TG’.
How do we deal with a complaint?
We will try to resolve things that go wrong as soon as possible.
Informal Local Resolution
Wherever possible we will try and resolve a complaint informally and at the point of service delivery. In the first instance please contact the service area you are concerned about and they will try to resolve your complaint as quickly as possible.
Stage 1 - formal complaint
If we cannot resolve your complaint with informal local resolution you can make a formal complaint. We will acknowledge your complaint within 2 working days and give you the details of the team manager that will investigate your concerns. We will aim to complete this investigation within 10 working days after receiving your complaint.
We hope to resolve all complaints in this way but if you remain dissatisfied with our response you can refer your complaint to the corporate complaints team for a stage 2 review.
Stage 2 - formal complaint review
For a stage 2 review you will need to contact the corporate complaints team giving clear details of which aspects of the stage 1 investigation you are dissatisfied with and the reasons for this.
The corporate complaints team will acknowledge your request within 2 working days and then respond to you within 10 working days with their decision on whether a stage 2 review is appropriate and if we proceed which senior manager will carry out the investigation.
If a stage 2 review is agreed the senior manager will review the stage 1 investigation and decide whether it addressed all aspects of your complaint. The senior manager will respond to you within 25 working days of your stage 2 review request.
If you remain dissatisfied
If you remain dissatisfied with our response you can discuss your concerns with the Local Government Ombudsman, who may decide to investigate your complaint.
For more information go to lgo.org.uk or telephone their advice line: 0300 061 0614