Children's services complaints process
We aim to make sure you are happy with our services. If, however, you are unhappy about any aspect of our services, please complain to us.
Don't just put up with it! If something is wrong you should complain.
If you are not satisfied with a service or do not agree with a decision, tell the member of staff you are most often in touch with. If you are not able to sort things out with this person, your complaint should be passed to their manager.
You can do this by talking to the manager in person, on the phone or in writing. Or you can contact the Complaints Team directly.
You might also want to seek the support of your local Councillor, a friend, relative or neighbour.
You can expect a reply to your complaint within 10 working days. In some more complex cases this may be extended to 20 working days. If the manager cannot respond to your complaint within this timescale, you will be kept informed of progress by letter or by telephone. If you are unhappy about the progress of your complaint at Stage 1, you have the right to ask for your complaint to be dealt with under the Stage 2 process.
If you remain unhappy following receipt of the response at Stage 1, you can take your complaint further by writing to the Complaints Team with your reasons within 20 working days of receiving your response.
You will need to ask for your complaint to be dealt with at Stage 2.
Your complaint may be investigated by a senior officer independent of the line management of the service that your complaint is about. In respect of complaints concerning children and young people, an independent person will always be appointed to work with the investigating officer to try to resolve your complaint. The independent person's role is to ensure the any investigation is fair and impartial. If the complainant is a young person, the Council will also work with the young person to provide advocacy to help them deal with their complaint.
The timescale for dealing with a Stage 2 complaint is between 25 and 65 working days from receipt of your complaint. The Council hopes to resolve your complaint as quickly as possible. The Complaints Team will ensure that all aspects of the complaint are investigated and will keep you updated on the progress of the investigation.
If you are not satisfied with the reply you receive in Stage 2, you have the right to appeal. You must write to the Complaints Team asking them to arrange a review of your complaint. You must request this in writing within 20 working days of the date shown on the letter of reply to your complaint at Stage 2.
A panel will review your complaint. The panel will be made up of people who are totally independent of the Council. You can come and present your case and bring a friend or representative to support you.
The panel will make recommendations to the Director within five days of the panel meeting. After considering the recommendations of the panel, the Director will write to you within 15 working days with the final decision of the Council.
Your complaint is concluded at the end of this stage. If you still remain dissatisfied, you may contact the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman for assistance.
Other ways of pursuing complaints
Some areas are not covered by the children's legal complaints procedure such as section 47 enquiries and court issues. The Complaints Team will be able to advise you about this.
In some cases a complaints investigation may have to be put on hold if there is a child protection enquiry underway or the police are carrying out an investigation. If this is the case you will be advised by the Complaints Team and kept informed of the progress.
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We will do our best to resolve the issue as quickly as we can. If you become angry or impatient with our staff whilst making a complaint, or are unreasonably persistent in your contact, we reserve the right to make use of policy on Unreasonable Complainant Behaviour.
Information on how we dealt with the complaints we received about children’s social care can be found in the latest annual report.
Related websites and contacts
- Childline: freepost 1111 London N1 0BR, freephone 0800 1111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- NSPCC: child protection freephone helpline 0800 800 500 or email email@example.com.
- Samaritans: emotional support and advice 24 hours a day on 08457 90 90 90.
- The Advocacy People: call them on 0330 440 9000
Contact details for the Complaints team:
The Town Hall
Wandsworth High Street
Telephone: 020 8871 7648