At times you might feel unhappy with a service or disagree with a decision that has been made.  You have the right to make a complaint if you feel you need to.  This page gives you information on how to make a complaint or raise a concern. 

Bristol City Council is committed to making sure:

  • communication with young people, parent and carers is open and honest,
  • young people, parent and carers know where they are in decision making processes and that they are part of these processes,
  • that young people, parents and carers understand what decisions have been made.

Before making a complain you should think about talking directly with the service or provider you have a concern about.  Often these conversations are the most effective and quickest way or reaching a resolution. 

 

Stages to raising a concern or making a complaint

Stage 1

Talk to the service you have a concern or complaint about.  You could ask to talk to the manager or someone senior in the organisation.  It important you give the organisation or service a chance to address your concern or complaint before taking further steps.

It is a good idea to:

  • Raise your complaint or concern as soon as possible. 
  • Write down your complaint or concern, keeping it brief and to the point.  This helps you to think about what you're concerned about and can help you keep on track of your concern.  You should also give a copy to the organisation or service you are making a complaint about so both of you know what the issue is.
  • Make sure you're talking to the right service or organisation.  It's easy to think you've raised a concern with a service or organisation only to realise that it was the wrong service or organisation.  This is also important if you want to escalate a complaint as you will need to know which route to take.
  • Check the service/organisation's complaint procedure.  Services and organisations take concerns and complaints seriously and will normally have a process for dealing with complaints and concerns.  Most of these processes take a bit of time so make sure you have a discussion about when it's reasonable to have a response to your complaint or concern.

 

Stage 2

If you feel your complaint or concern has not be resolved you might feel you want to escalate your complaint.  Below is a list of complaints and which organisations you can take them to if want to take your complaint further.

Complaint   Complaint Routes
A complaint about early years, school or college provision  

If you have a complaint about an educational provision you should first talk to the Head Teacher of the setting.

If you have made a complaint to the Head Teacher and feel your complaint is unresolved you should make a complaint to the Governing Body of the setting.

If you have already made complaints to the Head Teacher and Governing Body you can make a complaint to:

A complaint about the provision for an individual child or young person with Special Educational Needs but with no Education, Health and Care Plan.  

If you have a complaint about an educational provision you should first talk to the Head Teacher of the setting.

If you have made a complaint to the Head Teacher and feel your complaint is unresolved you should make a complaint to the Governing Body of the setting.

If you have already made complaints to the Head Teacher and Governing Body you can make a complaint to:

A complaint about Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessments or plans including:

  • A decision not to assess
  • When undergoing an EHC assessment
  • A decision not to issue an EHC Plan
  • An EHC Plan
 

If a parent, carer or young person disagrees with anything to do with the Education, Health and Care plan the first thing to do is talk to the SEN Coordinator or Inclusion Manager at their setting or their SEN Assessment Coordinator.

Read the Complaints, mediation, disagreement resolution and appeals page of The Bristol Toolkit - SEND in Education to find out what the routes are.

A complaint of disability discrimination.  

You should first raise your complaint with the service or organisation concerned, talking to the manager or Head Teacher. 

If your complaint is unresolved after talking to the manger or Head Teacher you should raise complaint with the management body of the service or organisation, if possible.

If you have raised your complaint with the management of the organisation or service you can make a complaint to:

  • The Secretary of State if it concerns a Local Authority maintained school.
  • First-tier Tribunal (SEND) if it concerns any school.
  • County Court if it concerns an early years provider, post 16 provider or a Local Authority.

A complaint about a health service.

This could be:

  • A community children's therapy like physiotherapy,
  • A hospital
  • A GP
  • or another service has says it is NHS funded.
 

You should first raise your complaint with the manager of the service you are concerned about.

If you have raised your complaint with the service manager you can make a complaint to:

A complaint about a social care service.

This could be:

  • A social care service, or
  • A social care provider

 

 

You should first raise your complaint with the manager of the service you are concerned about.

If you feel your complaint has been unresolved then you should make a complaint to Bristol City Council.

If you feel your complaint is still unresolved you can make a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman.

This table is based on the Department for Education SEND Code of Practice 2015 Children and young people with education, health and care needs –avenues for complaint and redress table (page 246 - 247).

 

Other considerations

  • Depending on the route you want to take you might feel you need legal support.  You should be aware that before someone can be granted legal aid they mist pass a financial means assessment. The case must also satisfy a merits test of whether it has a reasonable chance of succeeding.  Find out about legal aid.
  • Every setting, service or organisation should have a complaint procedure.  You should think about asking to read this before making your complaint formally.
  • You should read up about the different complaints procedures before you escalate your complaint.  This will help you know what to expect next and what the process is.
  • If you want to talk to someone about your complaint or concerns you can contact Supportive Parents, Bristol's Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service.

 

 

This page has information for residents in the City of Bristol.  Find out about what other Local Authorities do.

Last Update 1 December 2016 by Findability Team.

 

We make sure we keep information on Findability as up to date as we can.  If you think this page is out of date or inaccurate please contact us on sendplus@bristol.gov.uk.  Findability is not responsible for the content of external websites.