Complain about Children's Social Care services

We aim to deliver high quality services, but we know that sometimes things go wrong and that you might not always be satisfied with our services.

If you are unhappy with Children's Social Care services, it can often be quickly put right by contacting the person or team involved.

Try to make your complaint as soon as possible after the problem occurs and try not to leave it for more than a year as this can make it difficult to find out what went wrong.

If you have already done this, or want to discuss your complaint with someone else, contact us online, by phone or in writing.

How your complaint is handled

Complaints about Children's Social Care services come under a national legal framework.

Stage 1 

  1. Your complaint will be assessed to determine how it will be handled (through the national framework or our corporate complaints procedure) and we will aim to resolve your complaint within 3 working days.
  2. If this is not possible, a manager in the Children and Families service will investigate and respond to your complaint in writing.
  3. You should receive a response to your complaint within 20 working days.
  4. If we are unable to respond within 20 working days, we will contact you to explain why and agree a date for a response.
  5. If you are not satisfied with the response you receive you can ask for your complaint to be considered at the next stage of the procedure.

Stage 2 

  1. The complaint will be investigated by an independent investigator, accompanied by a separate independent person.
  2. They will speak to you before their investigation begins.
  3. They will look at all background information, and interview relevant people involved. 
  4. Following their investigation they will write separate reports outlining their findings, conclusion and recommendations.
  5. A senior manager in the service will consider the reports and send a written response to you within 25 days or up to 65 working days where more time is required.
  6. If you are not satisfied with the response you receive you can ask for your complaint to be considered at the next stage of the procedure. You have 20 working days from the day of the senior manager's decision to request this.

Stage 3 

  1. The Council is required to hold a panel within 30 working days from receipt of your request.
  2. The panel is made up of 3 independent people and you have thr right to attend and speak at the panel meeting. The independent investigator , independent person and senior manager who dealt with your complaint at stage 2 will also be invited to attend.
  3. The panel's role is to review the investigation of your complaint, listen to all parties and reach a view on the areas of complaint you are not satisfied with
  4. The panel will make recommendations to the Director of Children and Families around any further action they consider the Council should take.
  5. The panel will produce its written report within 5 working days of the panel meeting, and the Director of Children and Families will issue their decision within 15 working days of receiving the panel report.

If you remain dissatisfied

If you are not satisfied with our review response or you feel we have not handled your complaint properly, you can contact the ombudsman.

The ombudsman will not normally look into a complaint until the Council has had an opportunity to deal with it. However, you can contact their Advice Team at any time.

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