Statutory children's services complaints
If you have a complaint that relates to the provision of services to a child or young person, then you can contact our Customer Feedback Team. They will deal with the complaint in the following way:
At Stage 1, your complaint will be looked at by an Officer within the Customer Feedback Team and the manager that has responsibility for the service that is being complained about.
We will attempt to address your complaint as quickly as possible. The Officer will contact you to discuss your concerns in more detail and will consider the information, processes and thinking behind decisions that have been made to help agree a way forward. The Officer will then write to you setting out their findings and any action that they will take to resolve matters.
We will always aim to provide you with a full written response within 10 working days. If your complaint is complicated it may take longer than 10 working days, but we will always ensure that you are kept updated about the timescale that we are working to.
We hope that we would be able to satisfactorily resolve your complaint at this stage of the process. However, if at the end of Stage 1 you remain dissatisfied, you can contact the Customer Feedback Team and request that your complaint is escalated to the next stage of the process, Stage 2
You can ask us to review your complaint at Stage 2 if:
- You are unhappy with your complaint response or the outcome at stage 1
- You are dissatisfied with the way you feel your complaint was handled
- You did not receive a response within the set timescale provided
At Stage 2, we will arrange for a full and considered investigation of the complaint to take place without delay. To do this we will appoint an Investigating Officer and Independent Person who will talk to you about your complaint so they can get a full understanding of your concerns. They will review how your complaint was dealt with and will establish whether they agree with the findings and the outcome from Stage 1.
The investigators will each write a report setting out their findings and recommendations to be considered by the Senior Manager with responsibility for the service complained about. The Senior Manager will then write to you with their response to the findings and any action that they will take to resolve your complaint.
We will always aim to provide you with a full written response within 25 working days, but this can be extended to 65 days. We will always ensure that you are kept updated about the timescale that we are working to.
If you remain dissatisfied after receiving your Stage 2 response from the Strategic Manager, you can ask us to arrange a Stage 3 Review Panel.
At Stage 3, your complaint will be considered by a Panel of three independent people who will meet to consider the adequacy of the investigation and response at Stage 2 and may make further recommendations. The Panel cannot reinvestigate your complaint, nor can they consider any new complaints.
You will be invited to the meeting, along with the people who investigated the complaint at stage 2, and the relevant Strategic Manager. At the meeting, you will have the opportunity to say what it is you are still unhappy with.
Following the meeting, the Panel will produce a report, and this will be sent to you and to the Director of Children's Services within 5 working days of the date of the Review Panel meeting.
The Director then has 15 working days to write to you in response to the findings of the Panel, and any recommendations they may have made.
If, after going through Stages 1 to 3, you are still not satisfied with the council's response you can take your complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman.
What to do if you are a child or young person and you have a complaint about someone who supports you?
You should try to sort out any complaint you have first with your social worker, link worker, or carer. If they have been unable to help you, or you do not want to talk about your complaint with them, you should contact the Customer Feedback and Planning Manager who will then help you with your complaint.
The Customer Feedback and Planning Manager can also get you an advocate from Action for Children to help you make your complaint. You can contact the Customer Feedback and Planning Manager on 0191 561 7997 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We support children and young people by giving confidential and independent advice, information and representation. Find out more about our Advocacy Service.