We welcome your views and opinions. We use your feedback to understand what we are getting right, what we are getting wrong and where we can improve.
We treat all complaints confidentially, respectfully and fairly so please get in touch.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
Whilst we are working hard to deliver the services that matter most to our customers, we are continuing to follow our complaints process. However it may take us a little longer to investigate than normal. For any customers who have an ongoing complaint we will update you individually on any changes to timescales.
What is a compliment, comment or complaint?
Compliment: complimentary feedback about our services. We welcome all types of feedback and our staff particularly enjoy receiving compliments, especially when they know they have made a customer happy. Please let us know and we can pass on your thanks!
Comment: general feedback about our services which may include ideas, suggestions and solutions about how we could improve our services. Your comments about our services may be used during policy reviews so please let us know if you have any ideas about how you think we could do things better.
Complaint: an expression of dissatisfaction. This could be about the standard of our service, or perhaps you feel we have not delivered the services to agreed standards, quality or timescales. Unfortunately, sometimes things do go wrong and we encourage you to let us know when this has been the case so we can put things right and hopefully prevent it from happening again to you or another customer.
How can I tell you what I think?
Compliments and comments: contact us and we will record and review your compliments and comments. We will use your feedback to improve services, where necessary.
Complaints: please tell us about your complaint as soon as possible. When you receive your complaint reference number and know who is dealing with it, please keep the information safe so you can use it if you need to contact us about your complaint. If someone is speaking to us on your behalf, please ensure they have your permission and that we know beforehand that so we can talk to them.
What will we do with feedback?
First Time Resolution
When we receive your complaint, we will aim to resolve it when you first tell us that you are unhappy with our service; this is referred to as a First Time Resolution. We aim to respond to you within 3 working days and provide a resolution to your complaint. This will be either by the person taking the complaint from you or it may be passed to the relevant team for specialist advice.
If we can't resolve your complaint at First Time Resolution, we will escalate your complaint to Stage 1 of the complaints process.
If your complaint has not been resolved at First Time Resolution, we will further investigate the matter.
We will agree a date with you to respond by, keep you informed of progress and give you the name of the Manager who is investigating your complaint. They will look at all the issues you have raised, and will aim to respond within 10 working days.
We will contact you by telephone, letter or a home visit to discuss your complaint in more detail, to make sure that we understand why you are unhappy with our service, before providing you with a written response.
If you feel we have not resolved the issues within your complaint and you can provide further evidence as to the reasons why, we will look at the complaint again. This is referred to as Stage 2.
If there is no further evidence offered at this point and we have provided a response to all the issues you have raised, we will not progress your case to the next stage of the process.
If your complaint is escalated to Stage 2, initially the Director for the area of the business you are complaining about will review the case and contact you to discuss the matter, again trying to resolve the issues that are outstanding.
Following this review, your complaint may be referred to an independent panel who will further review your case. The panel will consist of a Senior Manager and an independent member of our Complaints Panel and will aim to respond within three weeks of the hearing taking place.
The review panel is the end of our complaints procedure.
If they are unable to resolve your complaint, they may also advise you to refer your complaint to the ESFA (Education Skills and Funding Agency). The ESFA will then decide if they can look into the complaint, and will let you know if they can take up your case on your behalf.
Getting independent help
If you need help or advice or want someone, such as relative, a friend or an adviser, to act on your behalf, you can do this if we have your permission to talk to them.
If you need help to find an adviser who is independent you can contact the Citizens Advice Bureau, Housing Aid Centre, Local Law Centre, a solicitor, your local Councilor or your Member of Parliament. You can find contact details for these in local directories or on the internet.