• Contact the organisation that you want to complain about and ask them for details of their formal complaints procedure. Some formal complaints procedures have more than one stage. This means that complaints that are not sorted out at the first stage can be looked at by someone more senior in the organisation.
• Put your complaint in writing. Clearly head your letter ‘Formal Complaint’ and keep copies of your letters and responses. See the example template in the leaflet on making a complaint.
• Make sure you write to the correct member of staff at the right address. If you are unclear who to write to you should contact the organisation for advice.
• Keep a record of events and a copy of letters and emails you send and receive. If you speak to someone on the telephone immediately make a note of what was said and the name of the person you spoke to and ask them to confirm their response in writing.
• Write clearly and concisely, be clear about why you are dissatisfied. If you have difficulty expressing yourself in writing you could ask a friend, family member or outside agency (for example the Citizens Advice Bureau or an advocacy agency) to help you.
• Be clear about what you would like to happen as a result of making the complaint. Are you looking for an apology, a change in policy, a service that should have been provided but was not? Make this clear in your complaint.
• Stay calm – when making a phone call, jot down beforehand points that you would like to raise and score these off as they are dealt with. When writing, draft a letter then re-write it making sure that you have included all relevant points.
• Be sure of ‘the end of the road’ of the formal complaints procedure.
• When you have received the final response and if you remain dissatisfied you may then wish to consider bringing your complaint to us.
If you would like information about complaining in any other languages or formats, such as large print or Braille, please ask. Call on 0800 377 7330 for advice