What if I have a problem with my direct payments?

First steps

If you are unhappy with any decision, action taken or apparent failure by your local authority, then the first step would be to talk to your social worker or care provider informally or ask to speak to their manager. If your problem is not resolved, you can then take it further by making a formal complaint.

The complaints process might be different depending on which part of the UK you live in.

How do I make a formal complaint?

Every Local Authority must have a formal complaints procedure and they should provide you with a leaflet or guidance telling you about it. If you have not been given this, then you should ask. There might be a time limit for making a complaint, so you should check the complaints procedure for your area as soon as possible.

What if I am still not happy?

If you are still not happy after following the Local Authority complaints procedure, your next step would be to write to the Local Government Ombudsman and ask them to look into your case. Although the Ombudsman has no power to force the Local Authority to follow its recommendations, in most cases they do. The Ombudsman looks at whether there has been a failing with the way a decision or action has been taken.

If you are still unhappy then you will need to seek legal advice to consider whether you can take action through the courts.

Where can I get more information?

More information on all of these options and where to go for help are given in this Age UK factsheet.