Commissioned services - complaints handling
Effective complaints handling - a checklist for service providers
A complaint is “an expression of dissatisfaction about a council service (whether that service is provided directly by the council or by a contractor or partner) that requires a response”. (LGO definition)
The Local Government Ombudsman is clear that:
“..councils keep responsibility for third party actions, including complaint handling, no matter what the arrangements are with that party” and “We will treat any complaint about a service provided by a third party on behalf of the council as being against that council.”
Local authorities need to ensure they have:
- An up to date understanding of the complaints procedures used by commissioned services
- Clarity concerning when a complaint needs to be handled by the commissioner, for example complaints about funding levels or policy
- Robust complaints data collection and reporting
- Clear arrangements for the use of learning from complaints
We've developed some guidance to support our commissioned services in their handling of complaints. The guidance sets out our expectations for organisations delivering services on our behalf.
Contracts will set out how commissioned providers should manage and report complaints, and providers should discuss individual arrangements with their commissioner. However, as a general rule we expect commissioned providers to:
- Clearly advertise how those using services may make a complaint and what they can expect from the complaints process
- Report customer feedback to Shropshire Council on a regular basis (to include complaints and compliments)
- Discuss learning from complaints with commissioners and identify and monitor service improvements where necessary.
For more advice and information about how to handle and report complaints contact Shropshire Council’s Commissioning Support Unit. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org