A Guide to Official Complaints

What do you do when you feel that things have reached the stage when you need to lodge an official complaint?

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First of all it is a good idea to make sure that you have done everything you can to sort the problem out informally.

Is there a clear solution? Who can you talk with to try and sort your problem out? If so, contact that person and try to reach an informal agreement. Make sure you keep a note of the time and dates when you phone, email, write or meet with a council employee. Try and keep notes of any face to face meeting - it's a good idea to write these up in email form and distribute to everyone present. A lot of council meeting are unminuted as there are simply not enough staff.

The best person will be your relevant contact in the council department. Here is a list of the service heads for ESCAN:

Name Position Phone Email
Debbie Grey Assistant Director ESCAN 020 8825 5219 Dgrey@ealing.gov.uk
Sue McKenzie Paediatric Physiotherapy Manager 020 8825 8702 sue.mckenzie2@nhs.net
Karen Benedyk Paediatric Speech and Language Manager 020 8825 8857 karen.benedyk@nhs.net
Evangelia Theochari-Boateng Paediatric Occupational Therapy Manager 020 8825 8766 evangelia.theochari-boateng@nhs.net
Geraldine Wassell SEN Service Delivery Manager 020 8825 8581 gwassell@ealing.gov.uk
John Miller Principal Educational Psychologist 020 8825 9091 jmiller@ealing.gov.uk
Chris Jones Children with Disabilities Service Manager 020 8825 7546 JonesC@ealing.gov.uk
Oliver Francis Children with Disabilities Team Manager 020 8825 7289 franciso@ealing.gov.uk

Stage 1

Your complaint will be automatically directed to the right department. Stage 1 complaints are dealt with by the relevant service head or their representative.  Your complaint will be acknowledged within four days and you should receive a full reply within 10 working days*.

Stage 2

If you are not satisfied with the response at stage 1, you can ask for the complaint to be reviewed by the director of the relevant department, by making clear what aspects of the response you were not satisfied with and what outcome you would like to see. You should do this within 28 days of receipt of the stage 1 response. This is known as stage 2, and our target is to provide a full response within 20 working days*.

Stage 3

If you are still dissatisfied, you may ask to have the complaint escalated to our Chief Executive who will review your complaint and respond within a further 20 working days*.  The Chief Executive will only be able to consider cases that have already been through stages 1 and 2.  You should set out why you are dissatisfied and what outcome you would like to see.  You should do this within 28 days of receipt of the stage 2 response. To escalate to Stage 3 please email ChiefExecutive@ealing.gov.uk

*Some complaints can be complicated and may take longer than the stated period to resolve. If we cannot give a full reply within the stated period, we will let you know why, what actions are being taken, and give you an expected date when we can respond.

Here in Ealing there is an official complaints section on the council website. On it you will find a list of complaint categories which will link to a form which will be delivered to the person responsible for that service. As far as we can ascertain the forms are equal with the adressee being the only difference. 

It would be a very good idea to prepare yourself before starting on the form. There are up to 5 pages to complete.

  1. On the first page you are asked to complete asks you to describe the nature of your complaint and what outcome you would like to see. It asks you to be as specific as possible, including all important information such as dates, reference numbers, names of members of staff and addresses.
  2. The next page asks you for your contact details and preferred method of contact. We would suggest by post or email as it is difficult to monitor and recall phone calls.
  3. The contents of the third page depends on your answer for your preferred method of contact. So it will either ask for your email or phone number.
  4. The 4th page asks optional questions about your nationality, ethnicity, gender, disability and age. However you can skip these if you like.
  5. The last page before submitting your form provides a recap of the informaiton you have provided and also the option of including your email address if you would like to receive an receipt.
  6. After submitting the form you will see an acknowledgement and a complaint reference number.


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