Making a complaint, comment or giving feedback
Page updated: 06/06/2022
We are committed to putting you, our customers, first. That means we always want to hear what you have to say about the services we provide.
By letting us know what you think - when we are doing a good job and when you think we can do better - you'll be helping us to improve the council and/or SEND Services, Information and Advice for everybody.
Three ways to tell us what you think:
- pay us a compliment
- provide general feedback
- make a formal complaint
The purpose of a compliment is to let us know if you're particularly happy about a service you've received or a member of staff who has provided a service that's impressed you.
We'll share the good news, and you'll help improve the service by increasing motivation and confidence levels. Generally we won't reply to compliments but we would like to thank you for sharing them.
This is an opportunity for you to give us your general views on a service we've provided, including areas where we could improve.
We'll read your comments carefully and, where appropriate, consider where we could make changes to improve. You can tell us whether or not you want a response to your feedback.
If your feedback relates to any services, information or advice as part of Swindon’s Special Educational Needs and Disability ‘Local Offer’ please send this to LocalOffer@swindon.gov.uk . Any feedback you provide will be included in the Local Offer Annual Report usually published in September each year with a response of what we have done in response to your feedback.
You can make a complaint when you're not satisfied with our standard of service, action, lack of action, or decision we've taken. We are unable to respond to complaints that are within a formal SEND process, for example, you cannot complain about a Local Authority decision in respect of assessment, content of an EHCP or an annual review. These issues must be resolved through formal mediation or SEND Tribunal Processes.
You have a right to have your complaint investigated and to receive a full and prompt reply. Should you need help with the complaints process we will always try to find someone to support and assist you. Complaints can be about any aspect of children and young people’s services.
Stage one: Local resolution
Your complaint will be investigated by the relevant team manager. You will receive a written response within ten working days. If the case is complex or if you require an advocate, we will respond to you within 20 working days.
If you are unsatisfied with the response and outcome of the Stage 1 investigation, you are able to request escalation of your complaint to the next stage of the complaints procedure. You should request this in writing within 20 working days.
Stage two: Formal independent investigation
Your complaint will be investigated by an independent investigating officer and independent person, who will meet with you to discuss your complaint and agree a 'Statement of Complaint' with you. You will receive a response within 25 working days.
If the case is complex, or further time is required to complete the investigation, we will advise you of this and request an extension of up to 65 working days to respond.
If you remain unsatisfied with the outcome following the Stage 2 investigation and/or the recommendations of the complaint, you have the right to request escalation of your complaint to a Stage 3 Independent Panel Hearing within 20 working days.
Stage three: Independent panel review
The panel will consist of an independent chairperson and two independent members. They will meet you and give you an opportunity to put forward your views. They will review the complaint process within 30 working days of your request.
You will receive a report of findings and recommendations from the chairperson of the panel within five working days. You will also receive a copy of the local authority's response to the panel's report within 15 working days of receiving the report.
You should not make a complaint using this process if your dispute is being dealt with through mediation or a Tribunal with the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal Service (SENDIST). Further information can be found here: Disagreement resolution, mediation and tribunal.