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Privacy Statement

Powys County Council accepts the following responsibilities for personal information recorded through this web page:-

  1. The information will only be used for the agreed reason and will be looked after securely
  2. The information will only be kept for as long as needed or to comply with statutory requirements and will then be securely destroyed
  3. If the information has to be shared with other agencies initial consent will be gathered at this point and explicit (signed) consent will obtained by the service / department concerned as soon as possible. Unless we are obliged by law to disclose the information.

Detailed guidance can be found on our Freedom of Information Web pages or from the Information Management Team.

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Informal Comment

Powys County Council is committed to dealing effectively with any concerns or complaints you may have about the services we provide.  We aim to clarify any issues about which you are not sure. If possible, we’ll put right any mistakes we may have made. We will provide any service you’re entitled to which we have failed to deliver.  If we get something wrong, we will apologise and correct our error where appropriate. We also aim to learn from our mistakes and use the information we gain to improve our services.

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.  He or she 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 our attention.  If the member of staff can’t help, they will explain why and you can then ask for a formal investigation.

Have you asked us yet?

If you are approaching us for a service for the first time, e.g. reporting a faulty street light, requesting an appointment etc then this policy doesn’t apply.  You should first give us a chance to respond to your request.  If you make a request for a service and then are not happy with our response, you will be able to make your concern known as we describe below.

Our Complaints Policy

When you express your concerns or complain to us, we will usually respond in the way we explain below.  However, sometimes you may have a statutory right of appeal e.g. against a refusal to grant you planning permission or the decision not to give your child a place in a particular school so, rather than investigate your concern, we will explain to you how you can appeal.

Sometimes, you might be concerned about matters that are not decided by us e.g. policy set by the Welsh Assembly Government and we will then advise you about how to make your concerns known.

This Policy does not apply to complaints relating to Social Services. For Social Services complaints please contact:

Social Services Complaints
Powys County Council
County Hall
Llandrindod Wells
LD1 5LG
Telephone: 0845 6027030
Email:  haveyoursay@powys.gov.uk

This Policy does not apply to schools, if you have a complaint regarding a school, please approach the School Governors in the first instance.

This policy does not apply if the matter relates to a Freedom of Information or Data Protection issue.  In this circumstance, you should contact our Freedom of Information Unit, in writing, to:

Information Management,
Unit 29 Ddole Road,
Llandrindod Wells,
Powys,
LD1 6DF
Or by emailing : foi.queries@powys.gov.uk

How to express concern or complain formally

You can express your concern in any of the ways below:

  •  You can ask for a copy of our form from the person with whom you are already in contact. Tell them that you want us to deal with your concern formally
  • You can get in touch on: : 0845 6027040 or 01597 827472 if you want to make your complaint over the phone

You can write a letter to us at the following address: Complaints, Comments & Compliments, Customer Services, Powys County Council, The Gwalia LD1 6AA.

Alternatively complete a complaint, comment and compliment form, which is available to download and print here or by visiting our offices, libraries and other council run facilities.  

Copies of this policy and the complaint form are available in alternative languages upon request as well as audio, large print and Braille. 

The Two Stage Approach

We have two ways in which we will deal with your concerns.

  • The first and most common is what we term as a stage 1 complaint. This stage is designed to deal with initial complaints or concerns and will be looked into by the service area that the complaint is regarding.
  • The second stage is designed to allow you to escalate a complaint if you are not satisfied with the initial outcome from a stage 1 investigation. Stage 2 complaints will be dealt with by a senior officer within the council, who may be independent to the service your complaint or concern is regarding.

Some complaints can be escalated straight to stage 2 when they are initially received, should they be of a very serious nature.

Dealing with your concern

  • We will formally acknowledge your concern within 5 working days and let you know how we intend to deal with it. 
  • We will ask you to tell us how you would like us to communicate with you and establish whether you have any particular requirements – for example, if you have a disability. 
  • We will deal with your concern in an open and honest way.
  • We will make sure that your dealings with us in the future do not suffer just because you have expressed a concern or made a complaint. 

Normally, we will only be able to look at your concerns if you tell us about them within 12 months. This is because it’s better to look into your concerns while the issues are still fresh in everyone’s mind.

We may exceptionally be able to look at concerns which are brought to our attention later than this.  However, you will have to give us strong reasons why you have not been able to bring it to our attention earlier and we will need to have sufficient information about the issue to allow us to consider it properly.  (In any event, regardless of the circumstances, we will not consider any concerns about matters that took place more than three years ago.)

If you’re expressing a concern on behalf of somebody else, we’ll need their agreement to you acting on their behalf.

What if there is more than one body involved?

If your complaint covers more than one organisation e.g. Powys County Council and South Wales Police we will usually work with the other organisation to decide who should take a lead in dealing with your concerns.  You will then be given the name of the person responsible for communicating with you while we consider your complaint. 

If the complaint is about a body working on our behalf, we will look into your complaint ourselves and respond to you.

 

Investigation

We will tell you who we have asked to look into your concern or complaint.  If your concern is straightforward, we’ll usually ask somebody from the specific service to look into it and get back to you.  If it is more serious, we may use someone from elsewhere in the authority.

We will set out to you our understanding of your concerns and ask you to confirm that we’ve got it right.  We’ll also ask you to tell us what outcome you’re hoping for. 

The person looking at your complaint will usually need to see the files we hold relevant to your complaint.  If you don’t want this to happen, it’s important that you tell us.

If there is a simple solution to your problem, we may ask you if you’re happy to accept this. For example, where you asked for a service and we see straight away that you should have had it, we will offer to provide the service rather than investigate and produce a report.

We will aim to resolve concerns as quickly as possible and expect to deal with the vast majority within 20 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

·       tell you how long we expect it to take. 

·       let you know where we have reached with the investigation, and

·       give you regular updates, including telling you whether any developments might change our original estimate.

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.  Occasionally, we might suggest mediation to try to resolve disputes.

We’ll look at relevant evidence.  This could include files, notes of conversations, letters, e-mails or whatever may be relevant to your particular concern.  If necessary, we’ll talk to the staff or others involved and look at our policies and any legal entitlement and guidance.

Outcome

If we formally investigate your complaint, we will let you know what we have found in keeping with your preferred form of communication.  This could be by letter or e-mail, for example.  If necessary, we will produce a longer report.  We’ll explain how and why we came to our conclusions.

If we find that we got it wrong, we’ll tell you what and why it happened.  We’ll show how the mistake affected you. 

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.

If we got it wrong, we will always apologise.

Putting Things Right

If we didn’t provide a service you should have had, we’ll aim to provide it now if that’s possible.  If we didn’t do something well, we’ll aim to put it right.  If you have lost out as a result of a mistake on our part we’ll try to put you back in the position you would have been in if we’d got it right.

If you had to pay for a service yourself, when you should have had one from us, or if you were entitled to funding you did not receive, we will usually aim to make good what you have lost.

Ombudsman

If we do not succeed in resolving your complaint, you may complain to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.  The Ombudsman is independent of all government bodies and can look into your complaint if you believe that you personally, or the person on whose behalf you are complaining: 

  • have been treated unfairly or received a bad service through some failure on the part of the body providing it 
  • have been disadvantaged personally by a service failure or have been treated unfairly.   

The Ombudsman expects you to bring your concerns to our attention first and to give us a chance to put things right.  You can contact the Ombudsman by:

  • phone:                   0845 601 0987
  • e-mail:                   ask@ombudsman-wales.org.uk
  • the website:          www.ombudsman-wales.org.uk
  • writing to:              Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, 1 Ffordd yr Hen Gae, Pencoed  CF35   5LJ

If we do not succeed in resolving your complaint, and you refer the matter to the Ombudsman at any time, then the Ombudsman’s judgement will be the final opinion on the matter. 

There are also other organisations that consider complaints.  For example, the Welsh Language Commissioner about services in Welsh.

Learning lessons

We take your concerns and complaints seriously, and try to learn from any mistakes we’ve made.  Our corporate management team considers a summary of all complaints quarterly as well as details of any serious complaints. Our Cabinet also considers our response to complaints at least twice a year.

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.

What if I need help

Our staff will aim to help you make your concerns known to us.  If you need extra assistance, we will try to put you in touch with someone who can help. 

What If You Are A Child or Young Person?

You do not need to have an adult to raise a concern or make a complaint, you can tell us yourself, or you can contact Children Rights and Complaints Officer who will support and help you use this concerns and complaints policy

Contact details are:

Social Services Complaints Officer
County Hall
Llandrindod Wells
Powys
LD1 5LG
Tel: 0845 6027030
Email: haveyoursay@powys.gov.uk

If you are still unhappy or need further help, you can contact the Children’s Commissioner for Wales. 

Contact details are:

01792 765600 (South Wales)          01492 523333 (North Wales)post@childcomwales.org.uk
www.childcom.org.uk 

South Wales Office:

Oystermouth House Phoenix Way
Llansamlet
Swansea
SA7 9FS

North Wales Office:

Penrhos Manor Oak Drive Colwyn Bay
Conwy
LL29 7YW

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The Local Government Ombudsman

If you are not satisfied with the Council’s response to your complaint you may wish to refer the matter to the Independent Local Government Ombudsman at the following address:

Public Services Ombudsman for Wales
1 Fford yr Hen Gae
Pencoed
CF35 5LJ

Phone: 0845 6010987

Fax:  01656 641199

Email: ask@ombudsman-wales.org.uk

Website: www.ombudsman-wales.org.uk

Service Contact

Customer Services

E-mail: customer@powys.gov.uk

Telephone: 0845 602 7030

Fax: 01597 827276

Address:
Customer Services
The Gwalia
Ithon Road
Llandrindod Wells
Powys
LD1 6AA