If you have a complaint about children’s social care then we will follow the process set out below. This is in accordance with The Children Act 1989 Representations Procedure Regulations (2006).
The Department for Education has provided a guide to help explain the legislation and complaints process called Getting the Best from Complaints.
Stage 1 (Local Resolution)
Once your complaint is received you will receive an acknowledgement within two working days to notify you of who will be managing your complaint.
The manager handling your complaint will reply to you within 10 working days. If more time is needed to investigate your complaint, we will let you know and respond to your complaint within 20 working days.
Stage 2 (Investigation)
If you are unhappy with the response from Stage 1, you can write to the Family Services Complaints Officer advising us of why you feel the Stage 1 response did not answer your complaint, and request an independent investigation.
An Investigating Officer will be appointed to conduct an investigation, and an Independent Person will oversee the process and ensure that it is carried out fairly. The Investigating Officer will write a report on their findings. This report will be used as a basis for our response to you.
We will aim to write to you within 25 days (or 65 working days if there are complications).
Stage 3 (Review)
If you are dissatisfied with how the Stage 2 investigation was undertaken, you can request a Review Panel, who will meet to review your complaint. This panel will not investigate the complaint again but will decide if the investigation and the results were fair.
Local Government Ombudsman
If after Stage 3 you are still unhappy with the Review Panel’s response, you can ask the Local Government Ombudsman to investigate your complaint. They look at complaints about councils and other organisations. It is a free service. Their job is to investigate complaints in a fair and independent way, and they do not take sides.
Help making a complaint
If you need help to make a complaint, you can contact the Family Rights Group or the Citizen's Advice Bureau. You can also contact your Local Councillor or a member of the Children, Education, Libraries & Safeguarding Committee for support.
If you are a child in care or a care leaver, you can ask for an advocate from Barnardo’s to help you. If you would like a Barnardo’s advocate, you can call 020 8800 0017 (freephone) or email email@example.com.