Making a complaint about children’s social care services
- Compliments and comments
If you have a compliment or comment you can:
- let the member of staff know yourself or tell their manager
- send an email to [email protected]. They will make sure that your compliment or comment is passed on to the appropriate people
Knowing when we get it right for you can help us to get it right for others too.
- 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 to children, young people and their parents or carers including
- assessment of children's and families' needs
- family support
- child protection
- caring for a child with special needs
- young offenders
- Things to consider before making a complaint
If you have any concerns about a service, please speak to the appropriate member of staff as soon as possible. You could also contact their manager to discuss your dissatisfaction. 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 someone 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 that has been 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.
- How to make a formal complaint using the statutory complaints procedure
To make a complaint please complete the Children's Services complaints form.
If you have a comment or complaint about other Hampshire County Council services, or wish to raise the matter with the Chief Executive, please see our corporate complaints guidance.
It is the role of the Children’s Services Complaints Team to manage the statutory complaints process.
- 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 inform you of this in writing.
We aim to process complaints within three to four working days of receiving them.
We consider any issues raised inline 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 inform you of this and provide you with the contact details for the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) to contact, should you disagree with the decision made by the Children’s Services Complaints Team.
- Stages of the statutory complaints process
- Please put your complaint in writing (ideally) to the Children's Services Complaints Team (see above)
- Please try to be clear and where possible include names of the people involved, dates when incidents occurred etc. Please be clear about 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 your complaint has been processed it will be passed to a senior manager who will investigate the issues raised and respond to you in writing within 10 working days, and 20 working days at the latest
Once you have received it if you are unhappy with the response at Stage One and before moving to Stage Two, you will need to contact the Children’s Services Complaints Team to make them aware that you are dissatisfied with the response and request your complaint is escalated to Stage Two:
However before doing this, if you believe it is still possible to resolve aspects of your complaint please let us know at your earliest convenience. Doing this would not prevent you from requesting your complaint is escalated should you subsequently feel any further resolution is not possible but it may result in your desired outcomes being achieved and your complaint being resolved more swiftly:
- We would recommend/prefer that you do this within 20 working days of receiving the Stage One response so that momentum in resolving the complaint is not lost
- if we have been unable to resolve your complaint at Stage One, or you remain dissatisfied with the outcome, your complaint will be progressed to Stage Two 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
If you are still unhappy with the outcome at Stage Two, you can request to take your complaint to Stage Three.
You will need to contact the Complaints Team to make this request within 20 working days of receiving the outcome of the Stage Two investigation.
At Stage Three a Review Panel will consist of three independent people who 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.
- 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.
- Annual reports
- Frequently asked questions and information sheet