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Social services complaints - using the complaints procedure

This advice applies to Wales

Your local authority (LA) has a special procedure to deal with complaints about social services. How does it work? Find out on this page.

Making a complaint

You can make your complaint to anyone who works for social services. They must record the complaint and inform the local authority's (LA) Complaints Officer.

Your complaint doesn't have to be in writing. If you complain by telephone or in person, you should keep a note of what was said. If you complain in writing, you should keep a copy of the letter, email or fax.

Top tip

Your local councillor may be able to help you to make a complaint about social services. To find out how to contact your councillor, ring your council offices or look on your council's website.

The stages of the complaints procedure

The complaints procedure has two stages:

  • Stage 1 – trying to sort things out with the local service
  • Stage 2 – getting someone else to look into your complaint

For complaints made before 1 August 2014, there can also be a Stage 3 -  taking your complaint to an independent panel.

If you prefer, you can decide not to use Stage 1 and go straight to Stage 2. For example, if you aren't comfortable dealing with staff close to the people involved in the complaint.

Special arrangements may apply if the complaint involves more than one LA, or the LA and another organisation, for example an NHS hospital.

There may be a delay to the complaints procedure if other investigations are taking place, for example, a police investigation.

Other useful information

On the Welsh Government website at you can find information about the complaints process and a copy of the guidance issued to local authority social services about dealing with complaints.

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