You can contact us about anything relating to the functions of children's social care, including any of the following –
- a service not being available
- the quality of a service
- how decisions were made or a delay in dealing with your problem or providing a service
- an unwelcome or disputed decision
- concerns about quality or appropriateness of a service
- delay in decision-making or provision of services
- delivery or non - delivery of services
- quantity, frequency or change in service
- attitude or behaviour of staff
- application of eligibility and assessment criteria
- impact of application of a local authority policy
Making a complaint
If you feel comfortable doing so, you should tell the people providing the service about your concerns, so they have a chance to put things right, this is often the quickest and best way for us to put things right. Making a complaint does not affect your right to receive our services.
Alternatively, you can -
- telephone - 01482 300 300
- in writing to –
The Children’s Complaint Team
You can also complete a leaflet accessible via our downloads.
If you are a young person, you can also contact the National Youth Advocacy Service to ask for an advocate. This is an individual who is independent and does not work for children's social care.
They will put your views across to those who support you and try to improve things for you. The complaints service can make this referral for you if you contact them.
What complaints cannot be made about
Where the following are intended, or are already in progress -
- court or tribunal proceedings
- disciplinary proceedings
- criminal investigations or proceedings
Other examples of when we are not able to consider your complaint -
- a decision that has not yet been made
- if you continue to complain about the same issue which has already been investigated fully
- it has been investigated by the local government ombudsman
- if you became aware of the issue over a year ago
- the complaint relates to decisions or actions of another department (police or the courts, for example)
There are some complaints that we have to look at through different procedures. Some examples are -
- requests for services, for example referrals to children's social care
- insurance claims against the council for compensation
- requests for information on Council policy or practice
- requests for explanations of Council policy or practice
- matters for which there is a right of appeal
These would normally fall under our Corporate Feedback Scheme.
The 3 stage statutory complaints procedure
Your concerns will be passed to the managers of the team that are working with you. Following investigation, the manager will write to you to tell you about what they have found and what action has been taken.
- if we cannot respond immediately, we will send an acknowledgement within five working days telling you who is dealing with your complaint and giving a timescale for response
- we will respond to you within 20 working days, or if we are unable to do so will explain why
- if we have made a mistake, we will take action to put things right
If you are not satisfied with the outcome at stage one, you can ask that we consider your complaint at stage two of the complaint's procedure -
- your complaint will be considered by two people independent of the Council. They will investigate your concerns and then write a report of their findings
- the report will be passed on to a senior manager in children's social care who will consider your complaint along with the findings of the independent officers. The senior manager will then write to you with their response
If you have been through stages one and two and remain unhappy with the way your complaint was dealt with, you can ask for your complaint to be considered by a review panel.
- the stage three review panel will consider whether the stage two investigation was carried out adequately and will focus on achieving resolution
- the review panel will not re-investigate your complaint but will reconsider the information that is offered
The stage three review panel will consider whether the stage two investigation was carried out adequately and will focus on achieving resolution.
Mind of My Own app
Are you in care or do you have a social worker? The free Mind Of My Own app is an easy way for you to tell your worker, or another adult that is working with you, what you’re thinking and get things off your chest. You can use it -
- before a meeting
- to ask for a change
- to get a problem sorted
Many young people across the country have found it really helpful to get their views heard. You can talk to one of your workers for support with downloading the app if you like.
The Mind of My Own is quick and easy to use at any time of the day -
Download the app or visit the link below and log into your account or sign up if you do not already have an account. You can sign up independently or with a worker. To register you will need an email address, if you don’t have one speak to your worker and they will support you to use Mind of My Own -
- choose your situation from the list of different options available to comment on
- answer the questions and add your own comments
- select whoever you would like your comments to be sent to
- your comments will be sent to your chosen worker. Your worker will then be in touch with you
More information is available on Mind Of My Own.