Policy Statement 

Care in Kent accepts the rights of service users to make complaints and to register concerns about the services received. It further accepts that they should find it easy to do so. It welcomes complaints and looks upon them as opportunities to learn, adapt, improve, and provide better services. 

  This policy is intended to ensure that complaints are dealt with properly and that all complaints or comments by service users and their relatives, carers and advocates are taken seriously. 

  The policy is not designed to apportion blame, to consider the possibility of negligence or to provide compensation. It is not part of the agency’s disciplinary policy. 

  Care in Kent believes that failure to listen to or acknowledge complaints leads to an aggravation of problems, service user dissatisfaction and possible litigation. Care in Kent supports the idea that most complaints, if dealt with early, openly and honestly, can be sorted at a local level between just the complainant and Care in Kent. 


Care in Kent acts on the basis that, wherever possible, complaints are best dealt with on a local level between the complainant and the Complaints Manager. 

For the purposes of this policy, a complaint is defined as an expression of dissatisfaction about an act, omission, or decision, either verbal or written, and whether justified or not which requires a response. 

Aim of the Complaints Procedure. 

Care in Kent aims to ensure that its complaints procedure is properly and effectively implemented and that service users feel confident that their complaints and worries are listened to and acted upon promptly and fairly. 

  Specifically, it aims to ensure that: 


  • Service users, carers and their representatives are aware of how to complain, and that Care in Kent provides easy to use opportunities for them to register their complaints. 
  • A named person will be responsible for the administration of the Complaints procedure. 
  • Complaints are dealt with promptly, fairly, and sensitively, with due regard to the upset and worry that they can cause to both staff and service users. 
  • Every effort will be made to provide an immediate resolution for minor complaints or incidents, and where possible, a course of action within 24 hours. 
  • We will acknowledge all written complaints within 3 working days from the date of receiving the complaint. 
  • We will investigate all written complaints and report back to the complainant within 28 working days. 
  • We will communicate & discuss with the complainant the course of action to take to resolve any complaint.  
  • We will keep a full written record of the details of the complaint received, and the action taken to resolve it. 
  • Complaints will be categorised enabling the company to identify any patterns. An audit will be carried out on complaints quarterly. 

Care in Kent Responsibilities 

The named Complaints Manager with responsibility for following through complaints for Care in Kent is: 

 Deputy Manager  

E-mail: deputy@careinkent.co.uk 
Telephone 01233 619530


Following your complaint, if you feel your complaint has not been dealt with to a conclusion or are unhappy with the way the complaint has been dealt with you may contact the: – 


Care Quality Commission 
Newcastle Upon Tyne 
NE1 4PA 

Telephone: 03000 616161 


In the event of the complaint involving alleged abuse or a suspicion that abuse has occurred, the organisation will refer the matter immediately to the Local Safeguarding Board manager. Usually, the board will call a strategy meeting to decide on the actions to be taken next. This could entail an assessment of the allegation by a member of the Safeguarding Authority team. 

Complaints Procedure 

Verbal complaints 

Care in Kent accepts that all verbal complaints, no matter how seemingly unimportant, must be taken seriously. 

  Care in Kent branch who receive a verbal complaint are expected to seek to solve the problem. 

  Staff are expected to remain polite, courteous, sympathetic, and professional to the complainant. They are taught that there is nothing to be gained by adopting a defensive or aggressive attitude. 

  At all times in responding to the complaint, staff are encouraged to remain calm and respectful. 

  Staff should not accept blame, make excuses, or blame other staff. 


If the complaint is being made on behalf of the service user by an advocate, it must first be verified that the person has permission to speak for the service user, especially if confidential information is involved. (It is very easy to assume that the advocate has the right or power to act for the service user when they may not). If in doubt it should be assumed that the service user’s explicit permission is needed prior to discussing the complaint with the advocate. 

Should a service user find the need to complain about our service or a member of our staff, the following procedure will be followed for us to deal with the complaint quickly and effectively: –  

If the complaint is of a minor nature, it may be resolved by talking to a member of staff at the branch.  

If the complaint is of a more serious nature about the services received or the behaviour of staff the complaint should be put in writing to the manager  

If the service user is unable to put the complaint in writing, then they should inform the manager who can then arrange for an advocate or a member of branch staff to record the complaint on their behalf. 


If the suggested plan of action is not acceptable to the complainant, then the member of staff or manager will ask the complainant to put their complaint in writing to the Care Manager. The complainant should be given a copy of Care in Kent complaints procedure if they do not already have one. 

  Details of all verbal and written complaints must be recorded in the Complaints Book and the Service User’s file. 

Serious or written complaints 

1. Preliminary steps: 

1. When Care in Kent receives a written complaint it passes it to the branch Complaints Manager who records it in the Complaint Book and aims to send an acknowledgment letter within two working days to the complainant 

  2. The manager also includes a leaflet detailing Care in Kent procedure for the complainant. (The complaints manager is the named person who deals with the complaint through the process) 

  3. The complaints manager will inform the Registered Manager of the details of the complaint. 

  4. if necessary, further details are obtained from the complainant; if the complaint is not made by the service user but on the service user’s behalf, then consent of the service user, preferably in writing, must be obtained from the complainant 

  5. If the complaint raises potentially serious matters, advice could be sought from a legal advisor. If legal action is taken at this stage, any investigation by Care in Kent under the complaints procedure immediately ceases. 

  6. If the complainant is not prepared to have the investigation conducted by the organisation, he or she should be advised to contact the local authority (if it provides the individual’s funding) or the Local Government Ombudsman service (if the individual self-funds) or an organisation such as Age UK or Counsel and Care, which can provide advice on how to proceed. The CQC could also be contacted under these circumstances, though it will not investigate a complaint directly. 

How the complaint will be dealt with:  

On receiving the complaint, all details of the complaint will be logged in our Complaints Register and on to our electronic booking system.  

This can be printed off if required for the service user or official inspections. Full details of the complaint, the investigation and the outcome will be recorded. 

All investigations will be carried out after a full consultation with the service user and other persons involved, any visits will be made at a convenient place and time. 

All involved will be kept informed of any developments in the investigations and actions taken until it is fully resolved. In the event of any specific allegations of abuse being made then Social Services / CQC will be informed. 

2. Investigation of the complaint by Care in Kent: 

1. Immediately on receipt of the complaint, the complaints manager services start an investigation and within 28 days should be able to provide a full explanation to the complainant, either in writing or by arranging a meeting with the individuals concerned 

  2. If the issues are too complex to complete the investigation within 28 days, the complainant will be informed of any delays. 

3. Meeting: 

1. If a meeting is arranged, the complainant will be advised that they may if they wish bring a friend, relative or a representative such as an advocate 

  2. at the meeting a detailed explanation of the results of the investigation will be given and an apology if it is deemed appropriate (apologising for what has happened need not be an admission of liability) 

  3. Such a meeting gives the management the opportunity to show the complainant that the matter has been taken seriously and has been thoroughly investigated. 

During the investigation, the member of staff will not be placed with the service user and depending on severity may be suspended.  

Should the service user be unhappy with how the investigation was carried out or the outcome they can take this to: 

Following your complaint, if you feel your complaint has not been dealt with to a conclusion or you are unhappy with the way the complaint has been dealt with you may contact the:- 


Care Quality Commission 
Newcastle Upon Tyne 
NE1 4PA 

Telephone: 03000 616161 

CQC customer services team are available 8.30am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday Website: www.cqc.org.uk/give-feedback-on -care 

Complaints can also be made directly to Social Services at: Social Service Eurogate Business Park Ashford TN24 8XW 03000411444 

Self-Funding Service Users Can take their complaint to the local government Ombudsman Telephone the LGO Advice Team on 0300 061 0614 or 0845 602 1983 for advice. Everybody reserves the right to complain, it will not in any way reflect or jeopardise the service we provide. 

4. Follow-up action: 

1. After the meeting, or if the complainant does not want a meeting, a written account of the investigation will be sent to the complainant. This includes details of how to approach the Care Quality Commission if the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome. 


2. The outcomes of the investigation and the meeting are recorded in the Complaint Register and on our electronic booking system and any shortcomings in company procedures will be identified and acted upon 

  3. The outcome of the complaint is documented and forwarded to Head Office. 

  4. Care in Kent management at both branch and Head Office, formally review all complaints at least every six months as part of its quality monitoring and improvement procedures to identify the lessons learned. 

Branch Complaints Procedure  

On receiving a complaint, the branch will complete a concern form. Log all details of the complaint in the Complaint Register and on to the electronic booking system.  

Sens the complainant acknowledgement of complaint letter within 24 hours. 

They will then categorise the complaint according to its severity.  

The Complainant should always be dealt with in a courteous, respectful manner.  

All complaint correspondence will be stored securely within our complaints folder. This is password protected, and only accessible by those at management level.  

Levels of complaints Level 1 – Reported to Branch Deputy Manager • Unsatisfactory service not directly related to care. No impact or risk to provision of care, minimal or no risk of litigation  

Level 2 – Branch Manager to inform Complaints Manager, Quality Assurance and Compliance Lead. • Service or experience below reasonable expectations in several ways but not causing lasting problems. Has potential to impact on service provision. • Some potential for litigation  

Level 3 – Branch Manager to inform Complaints Manager and Quality Assurance and Compliance Lead. • Significant issues regarding standards quality of care and safeguarding issues or denial of rights. Complaints with clear quality assurance or risk management issues that may cause lasting problems for Care in Kent • Possibility of adverse local publicity and or litigation.  

The complaints listed are not exhaustive and are for guidance only. Any complaint may be escalated to a Level 2 or 3 if it is deemed necessary by the branch manager or Quality Assurance or compliance lead. 

All complaints should be logged in The Complaints Register and on to the electronic booking system.  

Details should include:  

• Date  

• Name of person making the complaint  

• Details of the complaint 

Initial action  

• Action taken to reach a satisfactory conclusion  

• Signature of the person dealing with the complaint countersigned by the Manager This record should be copied on to both service user and worker’s file. 

 • Where possible for minor complaints or incidents an initial investigation by the Complaints Manager should be undertaken. Talking to the care worker and service user involved may lead to a satisfactory outcome. This can then be resolved within 24 hours. (Level 1)  

• The Complaints Manager will acknowledge all written complaints within 3 working days from the date of receiving the complaint (level 2 & 3)  

• The Complaints Manager will investigate all written complaints by interviewing the care worker involved, the service user and any other relevant persons involved. A written report on the outcomes of the investigation of the complainant should be logged in the Complaints Register and on the electronic booking system and copied on to both care worker and service users and files. A copy should be sent out to all involved individuals within 14 working days (Level 2 & 3)  

• Once the complainant has received the investigation findings, the Branch Manager/Deputy Manager is to agree, in conjunction with the complainant, the course of action to remedy the complaint to a satisfactory conclusion  

• The branch must keep a full written record of the nature and details of the complaint received, and the action taken to resolve it in both the worker’s and the service user’s files.  

• If a complaint of misconduct is made against a care worker, the Branch Manager will report this to the CQC  

• Where serious allegations of theft, fraud or abuse are made, the service user will be encouraged to call the Social Services and/or police. 

 Complaints Policy      Version 1       Review Date:   
Approved (signature of Board)  Name and Position  Date  
 Kimberley Stevens CEO  December 2023