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How we handle complaints

West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) welcomes feedback regarding our work and the services we provide. We use this information to review how we do things and to identify where we can do things better. We work hard to put things right if a problem arises and have set out how we work to resolve any complaints we may receive in this Complaints Handling Procedure.

Section One: Who we are

West Midlands Combined Authority

A combined authority is a group of local authorities working together to make their region a better place to live. The government gives combined authorities the money and power to make decisions for their regions. This is called devolution. It means that decisions are made by people who know their region best.

West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) was set up in 2016. WMCA is made up of 18 local councils and 3 local enterprise partnerships (LEPs). LEPs work together to benefit everyone who lives and works in the region. They include businesses, local councils and education leaders. Our Chief Executive leads WMCA along with the Mayor of the West Midlands and the leaders of 7 local councils.

We want to make the West Midlands a happy, healthy, place to live. We’ll do this by:

  • making it easier and safer to travel in and around the region
  • using derelict land to build homes
  • protecting our green spaces
  • making sure young people have the education and employment opportunities to make a great start in life
  • working together to support our communities and build a fairer, healthier and more inclusive West Midlands
  • tackling climate change through our WM2041 pledge

We are not a council and we do not provide local services like refuse collections or street cleaning for example. Your local authority provides these services directly to you and collects Council Tax payments from you to support this.

For more information regarding WMCA please visit our website www.wmca.org.uk

Transport for West Midlands

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) is part of WMCA. We own and run West Midlands Metro, which is the region’s tram service. We also run the Swift smartcard. We do not run the buses or trains but we work with bus and train operators to make sure that public transport is safe, reliable, affordable and accessible for everyone. We’re part of the West Midlands Rail Executive and West Midlands Bus Alliance. We’re responsible for monitoring and improving road safety in the West Midlands. We look after the 23 busiest routes in the region. This is called the Key Route Network. We also manage the Regional Transport Coordination Centre for the West Midlands which monitors our transport network and helps keep the region moving during major events.

For more information regarding TfWM, please visit our website www.tfwm.org.uk

Section Two: Purpose and Scope

This Complaints Handling Procedure explains how to make a complaint and what you can expect from us if you do.

This Procedure covers the full scope of WMCA’s activities and our Officers, including the work of Transport for West Midlands.

The Mayor of the West Midlands and Members of WMCA Board must abide by a Code of Conduct which governs their behaviour and actions when carrying out their roles and duties as members of WMCA. If you have a complaint that this Code of Conduct has not been followed you should send your complaint directly to WMCA’s Monitoring Officer via the contact details in Section Seven. Any complaints received via this Complaints Handling Procedure that appear to fall under the Code of Conduct will be referred to the Monitoring Officer.

This Procedure does not cover the services provided by third parties for example public transport operators. Please see Section Six: Complaints Relating to Third Parties for further information.

Section Three: What is a complaint?

We aim to provide the best possible experience for people who use our services. We recognise that from time to time things can go wrong or that you may be unhappy about our work, products or services. If this happens you may wish to tell us about this by making a complaint.

Complaints are valuable feedback and an opportunity for us to put things right as well as learn how we can improve our services in the future.

Section Four: Our Aims

If you need to complain, we aim to ensure that:

  • Making a complaint is as easy as possible
  • We resolve informal issues quickly and through an informal approach when appropriate and when this can be achieved
  • We deal with your complaint quickly, fairly and when appropriate, confidentially
  • We tell you what is happening with your complaint and do everything we can to help you
  • We respond in the right way - for example, with an explanation, or an apology where we have got things wrong
  • We learn from the complaints that we receive and use them to improve our services

If you make a complaint, it will not affect your right to receive or use products or services provided by WMCA.

Section Five: What WMCA can investigate

The WMCA can investigate complaints relating to our work, the products and services that we deliver as well as our people. Please also see Section Two: Purpose and Scope and Section Six: Complaints Relating to Third Parties.

You must send us your complaint within 12 months of the date that the issue first occurred. We are unfortunately unable to investigate anything older than this. Complaints can be investigated most easily when reported quickly after an issue occurs. In the case of a complaint about services you have received from us via the telephone, we record and store telephone calls for a maximum of 40 days.

If your complaint relates to the handling of your personal information, your complaint will be considered in line with the arrangements set out in Section Ten: Complaints and your Personal Information.

To avoid disappointment and to save you time, before sending your complaint to WMCA, please ensure that you are raising your complaint with the correct organisation. The WMCA has not replaced the role of Local Authorities which remain responsible for delivering the majority of public services within local communities. Your Local Authority is the organisation to which you pay your Council Tax.

Some complaints may need to be investigated under different procedures. If this applies to your complaint or we are unable to investigate it, we will contact you to explain why.

Section Six: Complaints relating to Third Parties

If you make a complaint which relates to a third party supplier, in some cases it may be possible to jointly investigate and provide you with a single response. This may involve sharing information about your complaint with the third party. Please see our Privacy Statement for further information on how we handle your personal data.

If your complaint is more suited for consideration by the third party under their own complaints’ procedure, we will pass on the details directly to the third party.

If your complaint relates to a Training or Education Provider which receives funding through the Adult Education Budget from WMCA, you must make your complaint to the Provider directly in the first instance. WMCA can only investigate this type of complaint when you have exhausted the Providers own Complaints Procedure, including any right of appeal. Please see additional information regarding Complaints about Adult Education here: WMCA AEB Complaints Procedure.

Section Seven: How to make a complaint

You can make a complaint by:

Email:           customerservices@wmca.org.uk

Post:             Customer Relations, 16 Summer Lane, Birmingham, B19 3SD

Phone:          0345 303 6760*

*Telephone lines are open from 0800 to 1800 Monday to Friday (except Wednesday 1000 to 1800) and from 0900 to 1300 on Saturdays. We are closed on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

To help us with our investigation please include:

  • Your name and contact details;
  • Details of what your complaint is together with any supporting documents;
  • Date, time and location (if applicable); and
  • As much other relevant information that you can provide

If you prefer, you can ask a friend or relative to speak or write to us for you. We will need your consent if you would like someone to act on your behalf. We are also able to offer a telephone interpreting service for non-English speakers on request.

You can contact WMCA’s Monitoring Officer by:

Email:           MonitoringOfficer@wmca.org.uk

Post:             WMCA Monitoring Officer, 16 Summer Lane, Birmingham, B19 3SD

Phone:         0121 200 2787

Section Eight: Our Complaints Handling Process

The WMCA can consider your complaint at two formal stages although we aim to resolve any issues informally wherever possible. If at any stage your complaint needs more time than expected to investigate, we will let you know. Our Complaints Handling Process is explained below.

Informal stage

You can raise your issue informally with our Customer Relations Team who will do their best to put things right without you needing to do anything. We aim to resolve issues brought to our attention within 10 working days, however, some investigations may take longer. Customer Relations will keep you informed of progress until your issue is resolved.

Stage 1

Formal complaint

If you have contacted our Customer Relations Team and are unhappy with the response you can complain to our Customer Relations Manager. Please remember to include all of the relevant information and send this to us via the contact details in Section Seven.

Stage 1

Formal response

Our Customer Relations Manager will investigate your complaint and respond to you directly within 10 working days of receiving it. If it is not possible to resolve your complaint within this time the Customer Relations Manager will let you know.

Stage 2

Formal Complaint

If you have received a response to your complaint from our Customer Relations Manager and you are unhappy with the outcome, you may ask for your complaint and the response to be reviewed. You can do this by submitting your request in writing within 14 days of receiving the Stage 1 Response. You can submit your request in writing via post or email to our Monitoring Officer via the contact details in Section Seven.

Stage 2 

Formal Response

WMCA’s Monitoring Officer will appoint an independent Investigating Officer who has not been involved in your original complaint. The Investigating Officer will investigate your complaint and provide a final response to you directly within 20 working days of receiving it. If it is not possible to resolve your complaint within this time the Investigating Officer will let you know.

Independent Review

You can contact the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman at any time about your complaint via the contact details in Section Nine. However, the Ombudsman usually gives WMCA the opportunity to investigate and respond first.

If you are unable to submit your complaint in writing to us, we can arrange to take details of your complaint over the telephone via the contact number in Section Seven.

Section Nine: What happens if you are still not happy?

If you have received a Stage 2 response from WMCA and you remain unhappy with the outcome, you can contact the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman to review your complaint. You can contact the Ombudsman at any time about your complaint. However, they usually give WMCA the opportunity to investigate and respond first.

Once the Ombudsman receives a complaint, they will take a first look and advise on the next steps. They will assess whether they can and should investigate. If they investigate, they may ask you and WMCA for more information.

Website:       www.lgo.org.uk

Post:             Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, PO Box 4771, Coventry, CV4 OEH

Text:             'call back' to 07624 811 595

Phone:          0300 061 0614*

*Lines are open between 1000 and midday on Monday, and 1000 to 1600, Tuesday to Friday, except on public holidays.

Section Ten: Complaints and your Personal Information

If you have a query, concern or complaint about the way we are handling your personal information, or about your request for information, please contact our Data Protection Officer at Information.officer@wmca.org.uk 

We are required to look into complaints about the handling of personal information, and the release of information we hold in line with the requirements of the Information Commissioner’s Office. This type of complaint will not be considered under this procedure.

Section Eleven: Unreasonable Customer Conduct

In a small number of cases, customers pursue their complaints in an unreasonable way. This type of complaint may be managed under a separate Policy which is available upon request. If WMCA applies this Policy to you and your complaint, we will write to you to explain the reasons for the decision.

Request a copy

To request a copy of this document in a format better suited to your needs please contact us on 0345 303 6760.