Tell us your views on Children's Services

We always want to hear from you. If you are happy with the service we’ve provided and want to thank someone who has helped you, please get in touch.

If you are unhappy with the council’s services it is often quicker to sort the problem out by talking to a social worker or a manager within the service. Most issues are sorted out this way.

If you aren’t happy with doing it that way you can contact us to make a complaint.

Making a complaint

The quickest way to tell us is to call our Customer Experience Manager on 01302 862845 between Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. You can leave a message if there is no one available to answer your call or the office is closed and we will get back to you.

You can also make a complaint by:

What happens when you make a complaint?

If you are a young person making a complaint the first thing we will want to do is to talk with you to get a better understanding of what you are unhappy about.

If you are an adult making a complaint about services provided by children’s social care or on behalf of a child or young person about the service they receive from children’s social care we may need to speak to you following receipt of your complaint if you have sent it in rather than spoken to us directly about it. This will be to make sure we have all the information we need to fully investigate your complaint.

If your complaint is about the safety of a child we’ll tell our children’s social services team about your concerns, and we’ll let you know that we’ve done this.

If you are complaining on behalf of a child or another person, we may not be able to provide you with any details about how we’re looking into the matter, as it will be confidential and this will be classed as “3rd party information”.

The aim of the council is to deal with your complaint at Stage 1 but if this is not possible the different stages are detailed below:

Stage One - Local Investigation

Once we receive your complaint, we’ll contact you within three working days, either by telephone, email or in writing, to let you know we’ve received it and provide you with a timescale by when we expect you to have a response sent to you.

We will then:

  • talk to you about your complaint if we need more information keep you updated if we need to extend the timescale for your response and let you know why and make sure that you get a full written response from the person who’s dealing with your complaint

If you are under 18 years old, an advocate who is separate and independent from our services can offer you one-to-one support. They will listen to your concerns, help give you advice about the complaints process and speak up for you in situations where you don’t feel able to speak for yourself.  Please let the Customer Experience Manager know if you would like an advocate when you make your complaint.  The Trust does not provide advocates for adults.

Stage Two - Investigation

If you’re not happy with the outcome of the stage one investigation, you can ask the Customer Experience Manager for your complaint to progress to Stage Two of the complaints procedure. You should ask for this to happen within 20 working days of getting your letter

As part of this stage of your complaint we will:

  • ask you why you weren’t satisfied with how your complaint has been dealt with and about any issues that you think still haven’t been addressed. You will be asked to provide evidence to support your complaint going to Stage Two.
  • if the Customer Experience Manager agrees to escalate your complaint to Stage Two they will bring in an Independent Investigating Officer and Independent Person to look into your complaint
  • agree a timeline for looking into the matter

We will then write to you within 65 working days to tell you:

  • what we found
  • why the decisions were reached
  • what the Trust has decided to do about it

If the Customer Experience Manager does not agree to escalate your complaint to Stage Two they will write to you to tell you why and how you can appeal against this decision if you are unhappy with the reasons you have been given.

Stage Three - The Review Panel

If when you receive the letter telling you the outcome of the Stage Two investigation you are still not happy with the way it has been investigated or you don’t agree with our response you can ask the Customer Experience Manager to escalate your complaint to Stage Three which will mean your complaint is heard by an Independent Review Panel. You will be asked to provide evidence to support your complaint escalating to a Review Panel. We will send you details in your letter as to how to go about this – just let us know within 20 working days of receiving the letter if you want to ask to go to Stage Three.

A review panel is not a tribunal and it doesn’t take place in a court. It is a meeting for yourself and the people who have been involved in dealing with your complaint. The purpose of the review panel is to see if it’s possible to come up with a solution to your complaint. The review panel does not reinvestigate your complaint they look at any complaints that have not been upheld at Stage Two. The review panel may make some recommendations.

The Customer Experience Manager will provide you with more information about how the panel meeting works when it has been arranged.

Are there any other ways to complain?

If you aren’t happy with how we’ve dealt with your complaint, you have the right to ask the Local Government Ombudsman to look into the matter for you.

You can find out more about the Local Government Ombudsman and how to get in touch with them on their website.

Last updated: 06 February 2023 12:14:48

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