Complaints about Children's Social Services

Please follow this guidance only if your complaint relates to:

  • Child Protection
  • Fostering
  • Adoption
  • Looked after Children
  • Services for children with disabilities
  • Children Leaving Care

Complaints Procedure

If you have a complaint about children's social care then we will follow the process set out below. This is in accordance with The Children Act 1989 Representation Procedure Regulations (2006).

The Department for Education has provided a guide to help explain the legislation and complaints process called 'Getting the Best from Complaints'

You should use our corporate procedure for complaints about education, childcare or youth services.

If your complaint is about a particular school, you should contact the school directly as they each have independent complaints procedures.

If you are unhappy about a service or the way that you have been treated, the first step is to contact the member of staff you are dealing with (or their manager).

We will normally only consider complaints about things which happened within the past 12 months. However, in some cases we may be able to consider complaints outside of this period.

To make a complaint you can:

  • Speak to a member of staff who works in the service you wish to complain about.
  • Complete our online form.
  • Email us at
  • Call us on 0208 547 5000

Children's Social Services Complaints Procedure

Stage 1 (Local Resolution)

Once your complaint is received you will receive an acknowledgement within 2 working days to notify you of who will be managing your complaint.

The manager handling your complaint will reply to you within 10 working days. If more time is needed to investigate your complaint, we will let you know and respond to your complaint within 20 working days.

For corporate Stage 1 complaints, a reply will be sent within 15 working days.

Stage 2 (Investigation)

If you are unhappy with the response from Stage 1, you can write to the Customer Care Manager advising us of why you feel the Stage 1 response did not answer your complaint, and request an independent investigation.

An Investigating Officer will be appointed to conduct an investigation, and an Independent Person will oversee the process and ensure that it is carried out fairly. The Investigating Officer will write a report on their findings. This report will be used as a basis for our response to you.

We will aim to write to you within 25 days (or 65 working days if there are complications).

For corporate Stage 2 complaints, a reply will be sent within 15 working days.#

At the discretion of the Complaints Officer, and with the agreement of the complainant, it is possible to refer a complaint as an early referral to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

Stage 3 (Review)

If you are dissatisfied with how the Stage 2 investigation was undertaken, you can request a Review Panel, who will meet to review your complaint. This panel will not investigate the complaint again but will decide if the investigation and the results were fair.

Local Government Ombudsman

If after Stage 3 you are still unhappy with the Review Panel's Response, you can ask the Local Government Ombudsman to investigate your complaint. They look at complaints about councils and other organisations. It is a free service. Their job is to investigate complaints in a fair and independent way, and they do not take sides.

Help making a complaint

If you need help to make a complaint, you can contact the Customer Care Team who can provide you with contact details for an advocate. You can also contact your local Councillor or Citizens Advice for support.

If you are a child in care, or a care leaver you can ask for an advocate to help you. If you would like an advocate please email

Last Modified: 23/02/2021 08:56:07

Customer Care team

Address: Guildhall 2
High Street

Telephone: 0208 547 5000