Childrens Complaints

A Guide to Childrens Services Complaints

Complaining About Social Care Services from the Children's Services Department

The Children’s Services Department is responsible for a range of social care services to children, young people and their parents or carers such as:

  • Assessment of children's and families' needs
  • Family support
  • Fostering
  • Adoption
  • Childcare
  • Child protection
  • Caring for a Child with special needs
  • Young offenders 

If you have any concerns about a service, please speak to the appropriate member of staff as soon as possible. You could also contact their manager to discuss your dissatisfaction. Most concerns are quickly and successfully resolved this way.

If you are still unhappy, ask for a copy of the complaints leaflet. Staff will do their best to respond to your concerns and will explain how the process works.

Children’s Services are only required to deal with complaints about events that happened within the last 12 months. However, you can contact the Complaints Team for advice if your complaint is outside this timescale.

What happens once a complaint has been made?

The way we deal with complaints about children's social care is set out in the government's guidance 'Getting the Best from Complaints' (website).

The three stages and statutory timescales are: 

Stage One

You can put your complaint in writing to the Children's Services Complaints Team. Please try to be explicit and as clear as possible and include names, dates etc. Your complaint will be referred to a senior manager who will look into the issues raised and respond to you in writing. We aim to resolve your complaint within 10 working days and 20 working days at the latest.

Whilst we cannot guarantee to meet your expectations, being explicit about the outcome you are looking for will enable us to respond more appropriately to your complaint.

If you are unhappy with the outcome at Stage One and before moving to Stage Two, a member of the Complaints Team will contact you. This will be to establish if there is anything further that can be done to resolve your complaint and may arrange to meet with you to discuss your complaint in person.

Stage Two

If we have been unable to resolve your complaint at the local level, or you remain dissatisfied with the outcome, you can contact the Children's Services Complaints Team.  You have 20 working days from the response of Stage One to make this request.  An Investigating Officer will be appointed to look at the issues you have raised and a full response is generally completed within 25 days from the start of Stage Two, but can sometimes take longer.

Stage Three

If you are still dissatisfied with the outcome at Stage Two, you can request to take your complaint to Stage Three. You must request this within 20 working days of receiving the reply to Stage Two investigation. Please contact the Complaints Manager for further information.

At Stage Three a Review Panel will consist of three independent people who will review your complaint, and then made recommendations to the Director of Children's Services.

The Director will respond to recommendations within 15 working days.

Local Government Ombudsman

Once your complaint has been through the above stages, you have completed the complaint process. If you are still dissatisfied with the way we have dealt with your complaint, you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will usually expect you to have taken your complaint through our complaints procedure first.

Making a Complaint

If you wish to make a complaint online, please click on the 'Do it online' tab and complete our complaints form titled 'submit a complaint about children's services' 

If you have any concerns about making a complaint or need further advice, please click on the 'contact' tab. Here you will be able to send us a message or find our address to write to us.