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Children's social care complaints

Who can complain?

Children’s social care complaints can be made by:

  • the child or young person themselves
  • a parent, carer, or an adult who has parental responsibility

Please note that the council can decide if the complainant:

  • is appropriate to act on behalf of the child or young person
  • has sufficient interest in their welfare

In reaching this decision, the complaints manager will try to check with the child or young person that they are happy with the person making the complaint on their behalf, and it reflects their views.

If the decision is made that the complaint should be declined, you will be provided with an explanation in writing.

Please note that there is a time limit of 12 months from when the matter being complained about occurred, to when a complaint may be made. After this time, a complaint will not normally be considered.

The process

We aim to resolve all complaints at the earliest opportunity. Complaints will be acknowledged within 3 working days and stage 1 responses provided within 10 working days. This may be extended to 20 working days for more complex complaints.

Our complaints procedure for children’s social care has 3 stages.

Stage 1 - resolution stage

After you submit your complaint, we will try to resolve your complaint within the team. The initial investigation and response will be carried out by either the assistant team manager, or the team manager. If the team manager has been named in the complaint, then the head of service may be approached.

Stage 2 - independent investigation

If you are not satisfied, you have the right to ask for a formal complaint investigation. This must be within 20 working days following the stage 1 response. The complaints manager will oversee this.

They will appoint an independent investigator to carry out the investigation who will write a report on completion of their investigation. An independent person will also be identified and will work alongside the independent investigator. They will also write a report on completion of the investigation.

All of this should happen within 25 working days of your formal complaint being received.

If it is felt that the investigation will take longer than 25 working days, it will be discussed with you and a new time limit set with your agreement. This should not be longer than 65 working days.

Stage 3 - review panel hearing

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint, you have the right to take your complaint to a review panel hearing. You have 20 working days to let the complaints manager know if you want to do this.

At the hearing, your complaint will be reviewed by 3 people who are independent of the department the complaint is against. The panel must meet within 30 working days of your request for it to take place.

The panel will consider whether the complaint was properly investigated, whether the report has a clear logic and whether the evidence presented supports conclusions and recommendations made at stage 2.

The panel will focus on your desired outcomes, with a view to a resolution.

The executive director will write to you informing you of the final decision reached.

Complaints report