21. Complaints procedure stage 1
Most complaints will start at stage 1 unless a decision is made by the chief executive or monitoring officer that a complaint needs to begin at the highest level.
The complaint will be acknowledged within five working days using a standard letter. This letter explains the complaints procedure, timescales and which officer is dealing with the complaint.
The complaint will be investigated by an appropriate officer, usually the strategic lead or service lead, with input from other officers as required. A response will be prepared and sent to the complainant within 20 working days of acknowledgement where this is practical but where this is not possible due to the complexity of the matter to which the complaint relates or other exceptional or unforeseen circumstances, we will make this known to the complainant and provide an indicative timescale when a full response will be provided.
The stage 1 response will include information about what the complainant should do if they are not satisfied with the handling of their complaint.