Complaints to Children’s Services

What can I complain about?

If you are not happy with your care or support from Children’s Services you have a right to make a complaint. A complaint might be about:

  • A decision that has been made about you
  • The actions or behaviour of your Social Worker
  • Delays in assessing you or providing support
  • The level of contact you have with your family
  • Any other matter relating to your care.

Who can complain?

Children’s Services should have a policy setting out how you can make a complaint and how the complaint will be handled. You have a right to make a complaint if:

  • You are looked after by the Local Authority
  • You are a child in need
  • You are a child leaving care
  • You are under a Special Guardianship Order
  • You have been adopted.

Even if you are not listed above you may still be able to make a complaint and should contact your Local Authority.

Usually you will have to make a complaint within a year after the event you are complaining about.

You can make a complaint online, in person, on the phone or by letter.

How will a complaint be handled?

There are three stages to the complaint:

  • Resolving it informally – talking about the issue to try and reach a solution. Stage 1 of the process should not take more than 10 working days.
  • Formal investigation – an investigating officer and independent person will investigate the situation. The investigation and response should be completed and sent to you within 25 working days. The Local Authority can however extend this time period to a maximum of 65 working days if the matter is particularly complicated.
  • Review panel – the complaint and the investigation is considered by a panel of three independent people. The Local Authority should acknowledge your request within 2 working days of receiving it. You should be notified of the location and date at least 10 working days before the Review Panel meets.

What might happen after the complaint?

You may be able to:

  • Get Children’s Services to change their mind and to agree with what you want
  • Get money as compensation
  • Freeze a decision relating to your care e.g. stop you moving to another foster home.


Coram Voice have produced a ‘Complaints search tool’ which can be accessed: here: & here:


Find out how you can access support with this issue by contacting the Coram Voice free Advocacy Helpline for Children and Young People on 0808 800 5792 or visit