Children's services complaints

How to make a complaint about our services for children

If you are unhappy about one of our services we would like you to tell us about it, this will not have a negative affect on the service you receive. We welcome any feedback that helps us improve and all complaints will be dealt with fairly and sensitively. You can contact us by completing our online form

How we deal with children's social care complaints

Depending on the type of complaint it will be dealt with under the Children's Complaints Procedure or the council's Corporate Complaints Procedure.

Children's Complaints Procedure

Complaints about children’s services have three stages:

Formal complaint - first stage

If you are a child in care you have a right to an advocate to assist you. For details of how to find an advocate please contact the Youth Advocacy Project.

The manager of the team you are complaining about will look into your complaint and write to you with their response within 10 days.

If your complaint is complicated they may write to you to say it will take longer.

Their letter will also tell you what you can do if you still aren’t happy.

Formal complaint - second stage

If you aren’t satisfied with our response then you should tell us within 20 days of getting your letter.

We will look at whether the issues can be resolved by talking the team you complained about again, or whether your complaint should go to the next stage.

At stage 2 your complaint will be looked at by two independent people.

When we get your stage 2 complaint we will write to you to say who these two people will be and they will meet with you to discuss your complaint.

The investigation will normally be done within 25 working days. If it looks like it will take longer, the independent people will talk to you about extending the deadline for up to 65 working days.

They’ll write a report on their investigation. A senior manager will send the report to you, along with a letter explaining what action they will be taking and what to do if you are not happy with what they have decided.

Formal complaint - third stage

At stage 3 your complaint will be looked at by three new independent people at a hearing.

We will write to invite you to the hearing and tell you who the people are within 30 days of receiving your request.

You can attend the hearing alone, or with an advocate, or you can send an advocate in your place.

The hearing will consider the investigation about your complaint and try to find an outcome that's fair. 

They will write a report and send it to you within five working days of the hearing. They also send a copy to the head of children’s services who will write to you with their comments within 15 days of the hearing. This letter will tell you how to contact the Local Government Ombudsman if you still aren’t happy.