How to give feedback or make a complaint

1.Compliments and comments

If you have a compliment or comment you can:

  • Tell a member of staff or their manager.
  • Send an email to They will make sure that your compliment or comment is passed on to right people.

Knowing how we can get it right for you, can help us to get it right for others too.

2.Complaining about social care services from the Children's Services Department

The Children’s Services Department is responsible for a range of social care services for children, young people and their parents or carers including:

  • Assessment of children's and families' needs
  • Family support
  • Fostering
  • Adoption
  • Child protection
  • Caring for a child with special needs
  • Young offenders

3.Things to consider before making a complaint

If you have any concerns about a service, please speak to the member of staff as soon as possible. You could also contact their manager. Most concerns are quickly and successfully resolved this way.

If you are still unhappy, you can make a formal complaint using the process below.

Things to consider before making a complaint:

  • Do you have parental responsibility? Whilst we can accept complaints from individuals who are considered to have sufficient interest in a child, it may not be possible to deal with your concerns unless the child’s parent, guardian or carer has given their consent for you to act on their behalf.
  • Your complaint must be capable of being investigated and relate to the Department’s involvement with a child.
  • The complaints process cannot overturn a decision of the court or tribunal/panel decision. If you are concerned about a decision made by the court that relates to a child, you may wish to seek independent legal advice.

Local authorities do not need to consider complaints made more than one year after the grounds to make the representation arose.

4.How to make a formal complaint using the statutory complaints procedure

To make a complaint please complete the Children's Services complaints form.

It is the role of the Children’s Services Complaints Team to manage the statutory complaints process.

Read our privacy notice to find out more about how we protect the data you provide.

5.What happens after a complaint has been made

Sometimes matters raised as complaints are more appropriately dealt with in another way, in order to achieve a resolution.

If an issue or concern raised is going to be managed outside of the complaints process we will let you know in writing.

We aim to process complaints within three to four working days of receiving them.

We consider any issues raised in line with the statutory complaints guidance Getting the Best from Complaints (2006), to decide how best to manage the complaint.

Once the complaint is processed we will write to you, to formally acknowledge the complaint.

If a complaint cannot be accepted within the complaints process, we will write to you to let you know. We will give you the contact details for the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO), you can contact them should you disagree with the decision made by the Children’s Services Complaints Team.

6.Stages of the statutory complaints process

Stage 1

  • Please put your complaint in writing to Children's Services, ideally using the form on this page. 
  • Please try to be clear and where possible include:
    • names of the people involved
    • dates when incidents occurred etc.
  • Let us know what outcomes you are looking for by making your complaint. We cannot guarantee to meet your expectations, but being made aware of what outcomes you are hoping for will enable the manager to respond more appropriately to your complaint.

Once processed your complaint will be passed to a senior manager. They will investigate the issues raised and respond to you in writing within 10 working days (20 working days at the latest).

Stage 2

If you are unhappy with your response at Stage 1, please contact the Children's Services Complaints Team. Let them know you are dissatisfied with the response and request your complaint is escalated to Stage 2.

But before doing this, if you believe it is still possible to resolve aspects of your complaint, please let us know. It might result in your complaint being resolved more quickly. If you aren't satisfied after doing this, you can still request that your complaint is escalated.

  • We would recommend/prefer that you do this within 20 working days of receiving the Stage 1 response, so that momentum in resolving the complaint is not lost.
  • If we have been unable to resolve your complaint at Stage 1, or you remain dissatisfied with the outcome, your complaint will be progressed to Stage 2 (on your request).
  • For this stage an Investigating Officer will be appointed to look at the issues you have raised.
  • A full response should take no longer than 65 working days

Stage 3

If you are still unhappy with the outcome at Stage 2, you can request to take your complaint to Stage 3.

You will need to contact the Complaints Team to make this request. Please do this within 20 working days of receiving the outcome of the Stage 2 investigation.

At Stage 3, a Review Panel consisting of three independent people will review your complaint and then make recommendations to the Director of Children's Services.

The appropriate member of the senior management group will respond to those recommendations within 15 working days.

Once your complaint has been through the above stages, you have completed the complaint process.

7.The Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman

If you are still unhappy with the way we have dealt with your complaint, you can contact the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman will usually expect you to have taken your complaint through our complaints procedure first. However, you can contact the Ombudsman at any point during the complaints process.