The complaints process Click to get info
Logging complaints through our online portal
When you log your complaint through the online portal, please follow the registration process to create an account. If you choose to log your complaint without registering your details, we might not be able to process your complaint or issue a response, and you will not be able to track the case
We send an acknowledgement to you within three working days of receiving your complaint. This applies to all complaints.
Stage 1 - Responding to your complaint
We will send a response within 20 working days from receiving your complaint.
Responses to statutory social services complaints in relation to children’s services are issued within 10 working days.
Escalating your complaint to stage 2
If you're unhappy with the first response to your complaint, then you can escalate this to a stage 2 complaint using the complaints online form.
When you complete the form, please tell us that it’s a stage 2 complaint and provide the reference number of the original Stage 1 complaint. This will speed up the process of logging and acknowledging your complaint.
Stage 2 complaints are investigated by the Council’s corporate Complaints Team on behalf of the Council’s Chief Executive. The Council has 25 working days to respond to Stage 2 complaints.
There is no Stage 2 escalation process for Statutory Social Services complaints about Adult Social Care. When the Stage 1 process is completed, you can escalate your complaint to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO)
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) or Housing Ombudsman Service
If you remain dissatisfied with the council’s response after completing the corporate or statutory complaint procedures, you will have the right to escalate your complaint to the Ombudsman.
In July 2020, the Housing Ombudsman Service (HOS) published a new Complaint Handling Code setting out good practice that will allow landlords to respond to complaints effectively and fairly. Landlords have been asked to self-assess against the Code by 31 December 2020 and publish the results. Non-compliance could result in the Ombudsman issuing complaint handling failure orders. Guidance on these new orders has also been published and these will be implemented from 1 January 2021. The self-assessment form for LBWF has been completed. Download the LBWF Self-Assessment Form re Complaints Handling Code.
We'll tell you which ombudsman to contact as part of our response to your complaint.
Complain about data protection Click to get info
The Data Protection Officer
Waltham Forest Town Hall
If you remain dissatisfied with our response in respect of your personal data, you have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner. If you wish to pursue such a complaint, you can contact their office via their helpline: 0303 123 1113. You can obtain further information about them via the Information Commissioner website. You will be provided with information about the escalation process when we respond to your complaint.
If your complaint also contains issues regarding other service, those issues will continue to be dealt with under the two stages of the corporate complaints procedure, or the statutory social care complaints procedure, depending on the service complained about.
Complain about a school Click to get info
There are a number of instances where a complaint can’t be dealt with using the council’s complaints process. This is usually due to statutory or legal reasons.
Help with complaining Click to get info
You may need help making a complaint. You can ask a friend, relative, voluntary or community group, Member of parliament or councillor to help you as an advocate.
You need to provide us with written and signed authorisation at the time that your complaint is made.
In general, where service users and carers wish to use an advocate, the Council has commissioned an organisation called Citizens Advice Waltham Forest to provide free, confidential and independent advocacy to people who use care and community services in Waltham Forest.
Alternatively, people can contact a relevant disability or carers’ organisation for assistance; such as
The Social Care Complaints Team can put complainants in touch with advocacy organisations where requested.
Help with completing online forms Click to get info
If you don't have access to a to the internet, a computer, laptop or mobile phone, or if you need help with completing the online form, you can visit a Library Plus branch where you can use a self-service point to log your complaint or you can ask a member of staff to help you.
The support staff in our libraries can help with digital skills and form filling, or they can help you by writing the details of your complaint on your behalf and confirming these with you.
You can also complain by letter, addressed to: The Complaints Team, Court 1, Magistrates, Town Hall Complex, Forest Road, London E17 4JF.
We prefer to receive your complaint in your own words, either through completion of our online form or by letter. However, in exceptional circumstances, the Council will accept complaints over the phone. If you are unable to submit your complaint using our online form or by writing a letter, for example because of disability, or you have nobody to assist you in making a complaint or if you cannot seek assistance through our library service, you can call the Contact Centre on 020 8496 3000. Please note that our Customer Service Advisers may ask you questions to enable them ascertain that they should make the exception to accept your complaint by phone.