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Llais Complaints Advocacy Guide

This guide will tell you what to expect if you decide to work with the Llais advocacy service to raise a concern about health and social care services.

We have complaints advocates who can use communications toolkits and have access to interpreters. We can provide information in different languages, large print, easy read and audio format. 

Please let us know what you need, and we will do our best to help.

Your right to complaints advocacy

By law, people who wish to complain about health and social care 
services are entitled to free, independent and confidential advocacy 
services to help them make their complaint.


Llais is independent of the NHS, local authorities and the Welsh 

Llais is supported by volunteers who are local people.

About our complaints advocacy staff and our service

All our complaints advocacy staff are trained. Our complaints advocates have the National Advocacy Qualification. 

We deliver our complaints advocacy service in line with national 
standards set by the Llais Board.

What our complaints advocacy service can and can’t do

Our complaints advocacy service can:

  • support you to make a complaint about a service, care or 
    treatment provided or paid for by health or social care services
  •  support you to make a complaint on someone else’s behalf, 
    including if someone has died
  • listen to your concerns
  • signpost you to other organisations if we think that someone else 
    can also help
  • answer questions about health and/or social care services’
    concerns process and explain your options
  • provide a step-by-step guide to the complaints procedures and 
    offer some tips
  • help you to raise a concern about the NHS yourself if you are 
    under 18 years old
  • provide you with a trained complaints advocate, an experienced 
    worker who can help you raise your concern and support you 
    through the process.

Our complaints advocacy service can’t:

  • make decisions on your behalf
  • offer an opinion on the validity of a concern
  • offer clinical opinions or give medical advice
  • offer advice about on-going care and treatment
  • investigate concerns
  • provide support with Continuing Healthcare or Individuals 
    Patient Funding Request Panels
  • provide support at inquests
  • offer additional support such as bereavement and 
    counselling. Contact details for such professionals can be 
    provided if required
  • help you to raise a concern about social care, yourself if you 
    are under 18 years old
  • usually work on concerns that are over 12 months old unless 
    you have only just found out that you have cause for complaint, 
    or have some other good reason for not raising your concerns 
  • give legal advice or help with legal action
  • help with issues not covered by complaints regulations. This 
    includes things like privately funded treatment
  • get NHS or social care staff disciplined
  • help you if you don’t live in Wales.

Even if we are not able to help with an issue, we may be able to 
signpost you to someone else who can help. Please do ask us.

When can our Complaints Advocacy Service help?

The health and social care complaints procedures are designed to 
help people to get their concerns heard and where possible, resolved.

They encourage people to talk to their healthcare provider who may be 
able to get something put right there and then. If you’re not sure, you 
can contact us and we will help you find the right person to talk to.

Our complaints advocacy service can help you at any stage in the 
health and social care complaints procedure. The key stages are:

Raise your concern with the service provider

If you cannot resolve your concern informally, or you would prefer to 
raise your concern formally our complaints advocacy service can help 

Usually, you need to raise your concern within 12 months of the 
events that you want to complain about. However, there may be 
occasions where the body will consider your concern outside of these 

Making a complaint to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales

If you are dissatisfied with the final response provided by the health and 
social care provider, you can take your complaint to the Public Services 
Ombudsman for Wales (PSOW).

The Ombudsman is able to consider complaints made to him within one 
year of the matters complained about (or within one year of the 
complainant becoming aware of the issue). If your complaint is about 
something that happened more than a year ago, but you complained to 
the Health Board (or Trust) within one year, you should complain to the
Ombudsman within twelve weeks of the response.

What sort of support can we offer?

Depending on your needs we can support you with any or all of 
the following:

  • find information relevant to your concern

You may feel that you need a bit of help to find information, for example 
asking for a copy of any relevant records.

  • think through your concerns, the concerns process and what 
    you might realistically achieve

Concerns are sometimes about things that are very distressing and 
the process of raising a concern can seem very daunting. Sometimes 
people find it helps to talk through their concerns and how the process 
works with someone who is knowledgeable, empathetic and 

  • write letters

A concern is more likely to be resolved quickly and successfully if it is 
expressed clearly. We can help you work out what you want to say and 
help you draft letters.

  • attend concerns meetings. Sometimes it is necessary to meet 
    with staff as part of the concerns process. This can feel daunting 
    and sometimes upsetting. We can support you to prepare for and 
    attend meetings with staff so that you can make the most of the 
    opportunity to discuss your concerns.

We will provide the type and level of support that you need, based on 
our discussions with you. For example, you may feel that, because of 
disability, ill health, communication or language barriers, grief or other 
reasons, you need more support from a complaints advocate 
throughout the process. Alternatively, once you have talked your 
concerns through with an advocate you may feel happy to continue 
without support.

We work with anyone who lives in Wales no matter what their 
needs, including but not exclusively, people who have:

  • mental health issues
  • learning difficulties
  • sensory disabilities
  • little or no English and different cultural backgrounds
  • suffered a bereavement.

Or anyone else who needs help with their complaint.

Our complaints advocacy staff have access to:

  • Secure case management and reporting systems
  • Letter templates
  • Interpreting facilities
  • Communications kits and other resources

How the process works

When you first contact us, one of our staff will talk to you about your 
concern, what sort of help you think you require and if you have any 
particular needs such as large print materials or access to someone who 
can sign.

If they think we can help you, they will explain our service to you. If we 
are unable to help you, we will try to signpost you to someone who can.

If you need a complaints advocate, one will aim to contact you within 
seven days and agree an initial plan with you. This plan sets out what
we have agreed we will do on your behalf and how we will keep in touch 
with you through the process.

If you would like this publication in an alternative format and/or 
language, please contact us. You can download it or 
ask for a copy by contacting our office.