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Page last updated on 04/10/2011
Complaints Procedure 

How does the complaints procedure work?

Basically there are 2 steps. You may not have to go through all of these. It will depend on how satisfied you are with our response at the end of each stage.

Stage 1: Informal resolution
If possible, we believe it’s best to deal with things straight away rather than try to sort them out later. If you have a concern, raise it with the person you’re dealing with or contact the Authority as soon as possible. We will try to resolve it for you there and then. If there are any lessons to learn from addressing your concern then the member of staff will draw them to the Complaints Team’s attention. If the member of staff can’t help, they will explain why and you can then ask for a formal investigation.

Stage 2: Formal Investigation
 If you were not happy with the response given at stage 1, you should either request to the member of staff you are in contact with to progress the complaint to stage 2, or you should contact the Complaints Team.
 
The Complaints Team will get back to you within 3 working days with the name of the Manager who will investigate your complaint at Stage 2.
 
If your concern is straightforward, we’ll usually ask somebody from the service to look into it and get back to you. If it is more serious, we may use someone from elsewhere in the organisation.

We will aim to resolve concerns as quickly as possible and expect to deal with the majority within 10 working days. If your complaint is more complex, we will let you know within this time why we think it may take longer to investigate and tell you how long we expect it to take.

The person who is investigating your concerns will aim first to establish the facts. The extent of this investigation will depend on how complex and how serious the issues you have raised are. In some instances, we may ask to meet you to discuss your concerns.

Outcome
If we formally investigate your complaint, we will let you know what we have found. We’ll explain how and why we came to our conclusions.

If we find that we got it wrong, we’ll tell you why it happened. If we find there is a fault in our systems or the way we do things, we’ll tell you what it is and how we plan to change things to stop it happening again.

How to contact the Ombudsman
We hope that our complaints system will help you to sort out any problems quickly and successfully. However, if we do not succeed in resolving your complaint, you may complain to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. The Ombudsman expects you to bring your concerns to our attention first and to give us a chance to put things right. The Ombudsman is independent of all government bodies. The contact details for the Ombudsman are below:

The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales
1 Ffordd yr Hen Gae
Pencoed
Bridgend
CF35 5LJ
Tel.  No.   (01656) 641150
E-mail:  ask@ombudsman-wales.org

Website:  www.ombudsman-wales.org       

There are also other organisations that consider complaints. For example, the Welsh Language Board about services in Welsh. We can advise you about such organisations.

Learning lessons
We take your concerns and complaints seriously and try to learn from any mistakes we’ve made. Where there is a need for change, we will develop an action plan setting out what we will do, who will do it and when we plan to do it by. We will let you know when changes we’ve promised have been made.

How to make your complaint or compliment

You can make a complaint or compliment in a number of ways:

• Telephone 01267 234567
• E-mail complaints@carmarthenshire.gov.uk or compliments@carmarthenshire.gov.uk
• Visit any of our Customer Service Centres
• Complete our online complaints and compliments form
• Speak to you local Councillor
• You can ask any member of staff to record your complaint or compliment
• Ask someone else to make it on your behalf
• By fax on 01267 224636
• By textphone on 01267 228659
• Write a letter to:
Complaints and Compliments Team
Chief Executive's Department
Carmarthenshire County Council
County Hall
Carmarthen
SA31 1JP