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How long for a response to a complaint?

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Hi,

My partner wrote a complaint to the DWP area manager on 30th October, after his complaint to the local branch was not resolved to his satisfaction.

We heard nothing for weeks, so he emailed the area manager on 22nd November, with a copy of the original complaint attached. A reply email was received from his assistant on the 24th Nov saying:

 

xxx has asked me to apologise that his investigation into your complaint of 30 October has taken longer than expected. He hopes to be able to issue a full response to you by the end of this week.'

 

As you can imagine no response was received by the end of the week. A further email was sent by the assistant apologising for the continued delay but to this date a full response to the complaint has not been received.

Am I right in thinking this has taken far longer than it should have? A complaint on the 30th October still not responded to by 9th December? Should we just escalate the complaint to the next level?

 

Regards

 

R

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I would escalate. Sometimes a complaint can take longer to investigate if the situation is complicated or info is needed from elsewhere however, the investigator should keep in contact with you so you know what is happening. As they have failed to do this or keep the promises made I feel that you should escalate and say that you are not happy with the way it's been handled.

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Which area of DWP was the complaint raised against? Was it the Pension Service, Jobcentreplus, Child Support Agency, or Disability and Carers Service?


My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

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Okay, JCP aim for a timescale of 10 working days from the day they receive your complaint to respond to it. Once a response to this is received, if you are not satisfied with it, you get in touch with the District Manager - which you have done.

 

The District Manager also has 10 working days to respond to your complaint from the date (s)he receives it. If the 22nd November was the first time you had contacted the District Manager, the timescale for response would have passed on 4th December (But from what you have said I'm thinking the Dictrict Manager was dealing with your complaint before 22/11/09 in which case, the timescale would have passed before this)

 

If they cannot respond within 10 days, they should contact you and state why they are unable to respond within the time, who is dealing with your complaint, advise you when you can expect a full reply and tell you what they have done so far.

 

From what you've posted, it seems that they have only advised you that the complaint is taking longer, and the "expected response" time has passed. They have emailed you again, apologising for the delay, but have they actually explained anything in detail to you? Why they are taking so long, what they have done so far, for example?

 

If not, I'd go straight to the next stage which is writing to the Cheif Executive:

 

CEO

Caxton House,

Tothill Street

London

SW1H 9NA

 

The CEO has 15 working days to respond. If you are not satisfied with his response, you then take it to the ICE.


My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.

(exceptions for prior authorisation)

If my advice has been helpful, please show your gratitude by taking a moment to click on the star icon on the bottom strip of my post

:)

 

 

 

 

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Thanks Erika.

 

We first complained to the Jobcentreplus area manager on 30th October via letter. It was posted first class on that day. It was on the 22nd November we followed it up with an email as there had been no response, so they are well outside the time now. They've only apologised for the delay and not explained what they have/ have not done. We'll escalate it to the CEO as you suggest.

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I would like to add to this my experience. After several months of unsatisfactory replies to complaints to my jcp office I wrote to Mel Groves at Caxton House, the CEO. Again it took ages to reply and again there was a lot of prevarication, with important parts not receiving a straight answer. I then took matters to ICE (the supposedly Independent Case Examiner). This has been a separate saga in itself. My first letter (enclosing copious supporting documents) was on Feb 4 this year. I wrote again two weeks later with a related complaint. Instead of considering the matters together - as common-sense would have dictated - ICE insisted on treating these as separate complaints. There was a preliminary assessment - involving two separate officers - that lasted until September. ICE insusted on watering down my complaints to grossly over-simplified "heads" on the basis that all the relevant material would be available to the investigating officer. Until September I was told repeatedly that the case was delayed due to jcp's failure to send papers. Apparently ICE had no teeth to expedite the matter. In September both matters were finally referred to an investigating officer. Again there was a delay until mid November. I then received a letter with various enquiries. On examination most of these were already covered in my previous letters or the enclosures I had sent. It seemed the investigator was either too lazy or incompetent to read the data. Other items consisted of requests for information which he said the jcp had still not provided (despite the previous 6 months delay) but should have had. Other enquiries arose because the investigator could not fully understand the abridged complaint "head" with which his colleagues had insisted on replacing my earlier detailed explanation. So ironically I had to refer him back to my original letter for a full explanation. The process is still continuing after ten months and relates to jcp errors dating back to October 2008. The moral is that procrastination, incompetence and red tape are endemic both in the dwp/jcp and the organization supposedly set up to regulate it. I don't know if there is any conscious collusion between the two or how independent ICE actually is. As time goes on and the failure to provide redress becomes ever more protracted my doubts increase. I do get the impression that ICE is more concerned about red-tape and fairness to jcp than to myself, the victim of the jcp's incompetence. Clearly one cannot rely on speedy or effective redress from the regulator and no doubt jcp/dwp is aware of this and under no particular pressure to expedite its own complaint handling, since it knows that it will take so long complainants are likely to give up or the managers or staff being complained of to have moved or retired. Just don't heighten your expectations. On my experience, if you are on benefits due to illness when you start the complaints' process, the process iself will make you twice as ill, if not crazy, by its crass stupidity and slowness.

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Thanks for sharing your story. That's an incredibly long time! I knew the JSA/DWP were incompetent but not to that extent. I do hope you get some resolution soon. Looks like I'm in for the long haul...

 

R

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