Life advice: Changing your mind on complaining

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The UK’s main advice body has launched a new online complaints unit

New resources and an online complaints unit by the UK’s main advice body mean the easiest way to get help is now easy and straightforward.

But are the best chances of winning is still taking a private complaint to the very people you are seeking to help rather than seeking help from a statutory body.

In a statement, The Fixer, which helps people who have faced problems in their lives, explained it is responding to the growing demand to simplify the complaining process.

It also said the demand for support had always been there, but the consultative meeting the organisation held last year “intensified support and highlighted some of the concerns raised”.

It said the support was needed because complaints were now being used “to address larger issues in society”.

Part of the response from The Fixer is a hub to help people get the most from their grievance.

Image copyright The Fixer Image caption The Fixer created an online complaint forum

It includes a resource guide with advice, including on how to complain to the police, the NHS and HMRC; what you should and shouldn’t say in your complaint; and where to send your complaint.

The aim is to make it easier for people to start their complaint – rather than having to pursue their claims further and tackle any unresolved issues later.

The problem is, once you are dealing with the complaint directly, the best chance of success is with a public body such as the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), Citizens Advice northern or Citizens Advice south-east.

Instead of waiting years for a complaint to be resolved, you just need to follow the easiest route – the public body, not a statutory one.

It remains, however, preferable to turn to a public body, as it is far cheaper, quicker and easier to deal with.

“As these helpful resources will help everyone, we need everyone who has encountered problems in their lives to get the information they need to effectively complain to their right organisation,” says the statement.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Citizens Advice groups all over the UK are taking on more complex clients

The new resources and complaints hub will be launched on Thursday.

Other examples of what Citizens Advice can do for you

Starting a home improvement project

Looking into tricky loans

Hospital reviews

Trouble at work

Uncovering loan scams

Finding out about council tax

Driving complaints

What the CAB can do for you

It will provide protection for consumers and will be able to help deal with problems you’re not sure about. This include:

Getting the information you need to make your decision

Closing the complaint before you’ve had time to discover it’s not right

Being able to close your complaint

Getting help in dealing with complaints from your area

Working with your local communities if an issue seems related

The new complaints centre should help ease people’s understanding of how to address an issue and make it easier to follow up on it – and increase the chance of successful redress.

The CAB and other public bodies will be able to refer people to Citizens Advice about complaints they need to follow up.

This will protect people’s privacy, because if your complaint is with a publicly-funded body it will be referred to you, rather than the public body themselves.

There are any number of reasons why people might not be able to make a complaint to their right body – which is why these kind of options are good if you can’t give up the fight.

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