Social work comments or complaints

We are committed to providing service users, those acting on their behalf and those affected by social work and care services with a transparent, accessible and effective process for dealing with complaints. We view complaints positively and are committed to have in place an effective complaints procedure to handle all issues brought to the attention of staff.

All complaints will be thoroughly investigated in an open and transparent manner and the outcome of the investigation will be explained to the complainant along with any actions that are taken in light of the complaint.

We are constantly seeking to improve the standard and quality of our services and recognise that complaints are an opportunity from which we can learn. It is important to us that people feel satisfied with the service provided. We will treat complaints seriously, giving individual attention to every one received..

If you are pleased with the service we provide, please tell us. You may have a suggestion about how we can improve. Sometimes the most straightforward ideas have the greatest benefit.

Complaints about social work services are dealt with in line with our Social Work Complaints Handling Procedure, which you can read below.

We define a complaint as:

"An expression of dissatisfaction by one or more members of the public about the social work service's action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by or on behalf of the social work service."

Complaints can be wide ranging but typically will fall into the following general categories:

  • Dissatisfaction with the service provided, both quality and quantity
  • Dissatisfaction with service refusal
  • Dissatisfaction with decision making
  • Dissatisfaction with staff conduct
  • Dissatisfaction with delays in responding
  • Dissatisfaction with assessments both financial and needs
  • Dissatisfaction about withdrawal of service.

Our key principles are that our process will:

  • Be quick and simple
  • Be objective and transparent
  • Seek early resolution
  • Deliver improvement
  • Be service user focused
  • Be accessible.

You will not be discriminated against as a result of making a complaint.

Anyone who receives, requests or is affected by our social work services can make a complaint. This is not restricted to 'service users' or those who can act on their behalf, but may also include people who come into contact or are affected by these services.

Complaints can also be made by someone who is acting on behalf of someone else, if they have authority or permission to do so.

In the first instance you should speak to the member of staff working with you, so that we can try and sort things out on the spot. This is called frontline resolution and it aims to quickly resolve straightforward complaints that require little or no investigation. Frontline resolution must be completed within 5 working days or in exceptional circumstances, where there are clear and justifiable reasons for doing so, an extension of up to a further 10 working days is permitted but only if it will make it more likely that the complaint will be resolved at the frontline resolution stage.

If you are unhappy with our response, you can escalate your complaint - Investigation (Stage 2).

You can do this by either:

  • Making a compliant via our online form
  • Contacting the Customer Feedback Team on  01224 523524 or at the following address:

    Customer Feedback Team
    Aberdeen City Council
    Business Hub 16
    First Floor South
    Marischal College
    Broad Street
    AB10 1AB
  • Complete and return the Have Your Say Form which you can download below:
  • Asking a member of staff to help you make your written complaint. They will show you a copy of what has been written and ask you to sign it.

You should provide the following details: your name, postal address and telephone number.

A brief statement of the circumstances.

You can also ask a member of staff to help you make your written complaint.

Alternatively you could request that someone make a complaint on your behalf, although we will need your written permission to share information about you with them.

You have the right, when complaining, to ask for your anonymity to be preserved to all except those staff directly investigating your complaint. If you do so, your wish will be honoured, but this may restrict officers from fully investigating your complaint.

If your complaint relates to a care service we provide, you can complain to the Care Inspectorate. You can find out more about their complaints procedure, or make a complaint, by contacting them.

Care Inspectorate
48 Huntly Street
AB10 1SH

0345 600 9527

For more information, see the Care Inspectorate website

Depending on the issues you raise, your complaint can be dealt with in one of two ways initially, either as a Frontline Resolution or as an Investigation.

Frontline resolution

If your complaint appears to be straightforward and could be answered quite simply by speaking to the appropriate member of staff, we would try to resolve your complaint at the Frontline stage (Stage 1).

Frontline resolution aims to quickly resolve straightforward customer complaints that require little or no investigation. Frontline Resolution must be completed within 5 working days. In exceptional circumstances, where there are clear and justifiable reasons for doing so, an extension of up to a further 10 working days is permitted but only if it will make it more likely that the complaint will be resolved at the frontline resolution stage.

If you are unhappy with our response you can escalate your complaint to stage 2.

Stage 2 – Investigation

Once we have received your complaint, we will send a letter of acknowledgement within 3 working days. If you do not receive a letter of acknowledgement by then, you should contact the Customer Feedback Team.

A Senior Officer will oversee investigation of your complaint. They will aim to complete the investigation within 20 working days. If it appears that this will take longer, we will contact you in writing to explain the reason for the delay and agree a revised deadline.

After your complaint has been investigated we will write to tell you what we have found and what we intend to do.

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) is an independent body who can review the complaints made to us. If you are unhappy with our response to your Stage 2 complaint, the SPSO can help.

You can contact them for advice and they may investigate the issue to see if we could have differently. They may suggest  improvements or give us advice on how we could do better.

For further information go to Scottish Public Services Ombudsman website.

You may feel that you want to talk to someone else to help with your complaint. There are a number of people you can approach who will advise you. These include:

  • Your local Councillor
    You can find out the names of your local Councillor in your local library, on the Council website or by contacting:

    Members Support Section
    Town House
    Broad Street
    AB10 1FY
    01224 523148

    All Councillors hold surgeries where members of the public can discuss matters with them. Surgeries are advertised in local newspapers, libraries and community centres.


  • Your MP or MSP
    You can speak to your MP/MSP at their surgery. You can also write to your MP at House of Commons, London, SW1 0AA or your MSP at The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh EH99 1SP.


Other advice and guidance

  • Financial Inclusion Team, Money and Benefits Advice
    Communities, Housing and Infrastructure
    Aberdeen City Council                
    Business Hub 1
    Lower Ground West
    Marischal College
    Broad Street
    Aberdeen AB10 1AB
    03000 200 292


  • Advocacy Service Aberdeen
    Aberdeen Business Centre
    Willowbank House
    Willowbank Road
    Aberdeen AB11 6YG


  • Citizens Advice Bureau
    41 Union Street
    Aberdeen AB11 56BN


  • The Care Inspectorate
    Johnstone House
    Rose Street
    Aberdeen AB10 1UD
    01224 793870


  • Scottish Social Services Council
    Compass House
    11 Riverside Drive
    Dundee DD1 4NY
    0345 6030 891
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