Adult services - complaints, comments and compliments

This page gives you information on how to make a complaint, comment or compliment about the council's adult care services.

We are committed to listening and acting upon feedback we receive from people who use our services – be that a complaint, a comment, suggestion or even a compliment.

While we welcome any kind of comment, we take complaints seriously. We try to provide the best service we can, but sometimes things go wrong. When that happens we want to be told, so we can make sure things work better in future and we can learn lessons that will benefit other people.

Often the best thing to do when something small goes wrong is to mention it to the staff concerned, who may be able to sort things out on the spot. But if there is a more serious problem, or if you do not feel staff are listening to you, you have a legal right to make a complaint and to have it properly investigated.
If you have a complaint about your assessment or care plan, then the best person to talk to will usually be your care manager.

If you have a complaint about one of the services your care manager has arranged, it is usually best to start by contacting the provider of the service (for instance the organisation which employs your home carers, or the manager of a care home). However, you can contact your care manager if you find that easier.

If you don’t want to speak to your care manager about the problem, or if you feel your care manager is not listening to you, you can contact our complaints team.
Our complaints team is here to listen to what you want to tell us about our services. This includes compliments and other comments, as well as complaints.

If you do have a complaint, the complaints team will make sure it is investigated as thoroughly as necessary and that you get a full response to all the issues you raise, including advice on other options open to you if you are not satisfied with what we say. If you have a comment or compliment, this will be passed on to the appropriate service area.

The team can also help with complaints about community health services for adults, such as help from district nurses or occupational therapists. Some local health services fall outside our area of responsibility, but if you are in doubt about how best to take up a complaint about any part of the NHS, the complaints team will be happy to help you.

You can contact us by telephone on 01670 628888 or by writing to us at the address below:

Adult Social Care
Comments, Compliments and Complaints
County Hall
NE61 2EF

We are happy to accept your comments and compliments by email to:
To deal with your complaint appropriately, we will need to know:
  • your name, address and contact details (please include a phone number)
  • if you are complaining on behalf of someone else, their name and address, and your relationship to them. We will usually need to check with the person concerned whether they are happy for us to look into the complaint and to include personal information about them in preparing a response to your complaint
  • what you are complaining about – please give dates and other details if possible
  • if you know them, the names of the people involved (for instance any members of staff whose actions you are complaining about, or who advised you to complain)
  • what you would like us to do about this complaint
If you phone us, we will talk you through the information that we need.
Members of the team will:
  • acknowledge receipt of your original complaint within three working days
  • agree with you how you wish your complaint to be handled
  • let you know how long we expect it to take to provide you with a detailed written response
  • keep in touch with you while your complaint is being investigated
The response we will send to you will include (where appropriate):
  • a full explanation of circumstances surrounding your complaint
  • an apology if the service has not been of an appropriate standard
  • a summary of what we have learned as a result of the complaint investigation
  • a summary of how the service will be improved in future
If you are not satisfied with the response to your complaint, we will also advise you about how you can take the matter further.

Contact adult social care

Here you will find information about the work of the involvement and service development team in the community business unit of Northumbria Healthcare. As part of this work, there are a range of forums for older people, long-term conditions, dementia and learning disabilities.

The involvement and service development team in the community business unit of Northumbria Healthcare:
  • co-ordinate the work of the Ageing Well and Learning Disability Partnership Board in Northumberland
  • ensure there are ways for people to have their say about services they receive, to influence strategy and service development to meet the needs of local people and their carers
  • work in partnership to coordinate involvement and service development surrounding carer issues
As part of this work, we have a range of forums for older people, people with learning disabilities, people living with dementia or long-term conditions and their carers. These aim to inform and empower people living in Northumberland to:
  • take part in consultation activities
  • receive regular mailings keeping them informed
  • attend subject-specific meetings on key topics
  • act as a critical friend to develop health and social care services
  • share information, experience and expertise with each other  
Ageing Well in Tynedale
The forum is held between 2.00pm and 4.00pm at The Torch Centre, Corbridge Road, Hexham, NE46 1QS.
  • Tuesday 14 February 2017 - Staying active and looking after your health
  • Tuesday 11 April 2017 - Keeping safe
  • Tuesday 13 June 2017 - Practical solutions within the home
  • Tuesday 8 August 2017 - How to get help when you need it
  • Tuesday 10 October 2017 - Coping with change

Ageing Well in north Northumberland
These sessions form part of the Elderberries Clinic Cafe annual timetable and are held between 2.00pm and 3.30pm at The Alnwick Garden, Denwick Lane, Alnwick, NE66 1YU. (The Elderberries programme suggest a voluntary contribution of £2 for Clinic Cafe sessions).
  • Tuesday 10 January 2017 - Healthy New Year resolutions
  • Tuesday 14 February 2017 - Elderberries Clinic Cafe topic
  • Tuesday 14 March 2017 - Planning for the future - financial and legal matters
  • Tuesday 11 April 2017 - Elderberries Clinic Cafe topic
  • Tuesday 9 May 2017 - Understanding dementia
  • Tuesday 13 June 2017 - Elderberries Clinic Cafe topic
  • Tuesday 11 July 2017 - Keep calm and hang up

Ageing Well in Blyth Valley
This forum is held between 2.00pm and 4.00pm at The Central Methodist Church, Beaconsfield Street, Blyth, NE24 2DP.
  • Wednesday 1 February 2017 - How to get help when you need it
  • Wednesday 5 April 2017 - Staying active and looking after your health
  • Wednesday 7 June 2017 - Understanding dementia
  • Wednesday 2 August 2017 - Keeping safe
  • Wednesday 4 October 2017 - Coping with change

Ageing Well in Central
We are linking with current community information groups in this area.
For information please contact the involvement and service development team on 01670 629 000 or email involvement&   
Learning disability area forums are for people with learning disabilities and their carers to meet and discuss local issues affecting their lives. The forums ensure the involvement of people with learning difficulties and their carers in service development.

Forum representatives are elected to sit on Northumberland Learning Disability Partnership Board. Members act on behalf of people with learning difficulties, helping them to live safe, independent lives as much as possible and promoting positive attitudes.

The learning disability partnership board (LDPB) aims to show the values of inclusiveness,
respect, dignity and equal partnership in working together locally with people with learning
disabilities, and their families, to support better lives for them.
  • In the north, Berwick Voices meets once a month in Berwick upon Tweed. This forum then feeds into the North forum: Northumberland Echo. Meetings for this group alternate between Berwick and Alnwick. Members of the forum are made up of council providers, but they also include voluntary and community groups such as Border Links. For further information email Kirsty or Joanne at
  • Have a Say group: Based in Hexham. Contact is Joanne:
  • Central User Forum: Based in Blyth. Contact is Michelle:
The forums work direct from the partnership board and help with consultation on key documents
and areas of focus for the council, such as housing and health initiatives with Northumbria
Healthcare Trust. They also raise important local issues with the partnership board.

For further information about area forums and the Learning Disability Partnership Board, please click here.
If you would like to find out more, or join a forum, contact the involvement and service development team on: We can help with travel expenses and arrange transport if you need assistance to attend any of these meetings.