How we deal with complaints
Complaints about children’s services have three stages:
When we first get your complaint we’ll send you a letter to say we’ve got it and who will be dealing with it.
The manager of the team you are complaining about will look into your complaint and write to you with their response within 10 days.
If your complaint is complicated they may write to you to say it will take longer.
Their letter will also tell you how you can appeal if you still aren’t happy.
If you aren’t satisfied with our response then you should tell us within 20 days of getting your letter.
We will look at whether the issues can be resolved by talking the team you complained about again, or whether your complaint should go to the next stage.
At stage 2 your complaint will be looked at by two people
- An ‘investigating officer’ – someone who works for the council who hasn’t been involved in the complaint already; and
- An independent person who doesn’t work for us.
When we get your stage 2 complaint we will write to you to say who these two people will be and we’ll ask you to sign something to agree the things that will be investigated.
The investigation will normally be done within 25 working days. If it looks like it will take longer, the investigating office will talk to you about extending the deadline for up to 65 working days.
They’ll write a report on their investigation and send it to an ‘adjudicating officer’. This is a senior manager who will send the report to you, along with a letter explaining what action they will be taking and what to do if you are not happy with what they have decided.
At stage 3 your complaint will be looked at by a panel at a hearing.
We will write to invite you to the hearing and tell you who is on the panel within 30 days of receiving your appeal.
You can attend the hearing alone, or with an advocate, or you can send an advocate in your place. You can send something in writing instead but we do prefer for you or an advocate to come.
The panel will consider the investigation about your complaint and the investigating officer, independent person and adjudicating officer will be there, to answer any questions the panel have.
After the hearing the panel will discuss all the evidence and come to a decision about the investigation into your complaint.
The panel will write a report and send it to you within five working days of the hearing. They also send a copy to the head of children’s services who will write to you with their comments within 15 days of the hearing. This letter will tell you how to contact the local government ombudsman if you still aren’t happy.