Children's social care complaints and representations

If you are dissatisfied in any way with our services, we will do all we can to sort the problem out quickly, to investigate fairly and to explain fully the outcome of our enquiries.

Most problems can be sorted out by the person you normally deal with in children's social care services, so talk to them first if you can. If they can't help, or you would rather speak to someone else, ask to speak to their manager.

If your problem can't be dealt with by talking to a member of staff then you may wish to make a complaint.

You can make a complaint in one of the following ways:

By using the customer feedback form.

In writing to:

Complaints and appeals team
Legal and democratic services
Christ Church Precinct
County Hall

Please note: You should make your complaint as soon as possible but no longer than twelve months.

The complaints process

Your service is individual to you and we know that we don't get it right all the time. If you are dissatisfied in any way with our services, we will do all we can to sort the problem out quickly, to investigate it fairly and to explain fully the outcome of the process, which is in three stages although we would hope it is not necessary to progress complaints.

Stage 1: We will try to sort the problem out locally

Wherever possible, concerns, problems, or complaints are best resolved where they start.  By this, we mean that staff and managers in the local teams who are providing the service to you are in a good position to address and resolve your problems or concerns quickly.

If you feel it is necessary to make a complaint, try and speak to the person who you normally deal with at your local children's social care office. 

If we cannot resolve your concern where it starts and straightaway or you are unhappy with the action staff take, you may then want to pursue a complaint at stage 1.

The manager should inform you in writing what action you may take if you remain dissatisfied with the outcome at stage 1. The letter should state that you can ask for your complaint to go to stage 2 for independent investigation. Ideally you should request a stage 2 within 20 working days so that momentum in resolving the complaint is not lost.

Stage 2: Independent investigation

If a problem can't be sorted out locally at stage 1, and you have tried mediation, you can request that your complaint is progressed to stage 2.  You have 20 working days after receiving your stage 1 response to ask for an investigation.

 An external, independent investigating officer will carry out the investigation and an independent person will work alongside, to make sure the complaints process is being carried out fairly and that you are being listened to. The Independent Person is not an advocate.

The investigating officer will get in touch with you explain what happens during the investigation.

When the investigation is complete the investigating officer will produce a report. The manager at the local office will write and advise you of the outcome along with a copy of the investigators report.

A stage 2 investigation should be completed within 25 working days, or up to 65 working days if more time is needed to look into your complaint.

If you feel that investigation has not fully considered your complaint you can ask for a stage 3 panel review.

We use our volunteer hub to recruit independent people.

Stage 3: Independent Review Panel

If you are still dissatisfied, you have 20 working days to ask for it to be reviewed by an independent panel. The review will be carried out by a panel of 3 independent people who will meet to consider the complaint and the stage 2 investigation.

We aim to arrange for complaints to be reviewed within 30 working days of receiving a request, however the timescales can be extended if more time is needed to convene the panel.

A written response will be sent to you within 15 working days of the date of the panel.

Local Government Ombudsman

If you remain dissatisfied, you can make a complaint to The Local Government Ombudsman. (external link)