Stages of complaints procedure

The Children’s Social Care Statutory Complaints Procedure has three stages:

Stage 1 - Internal Investigation

At Stage 1, the complaint will be investigated by the relevant Service Manager, who will liaise with the officers and contractors for the service. We aim to acknowledge a Stage 1 complaint within two working days of receipt and to provide a written response within 10 working days.

Stage 2 - Independent Investigation

If you remain dissatisfied following receipt of the Stage 1 response, you can ask for your complaint to be progressed to a review at Stage 2 of the statutory procedure. A request for a Stage 2 review should be made within 20 working days from receipt of the Stage 1 response. We expect you to explain why the initial Stage 1 response has not resolved your complaint and what outcome you require as a resolution to your complaint. We aim to acknowledge a Stage 2 complaint within two working days of receipt.

A Stage 2 investigation is conducted by an Investigating Officer (IO) and an Independent Person (IP) who oversees the fairness and transparency of the investigation process. The IO and IP will look into the complaint and produce a report, following their investigation, which will make findings and identify any recommendations to resolve the complaint. After considering the findings and recommendations of the investigation team, a Senior Manager will provide a written response to the complainant setting out the findings and conclusions. The timescale for responding to a Stage 2 complaint is between 25 and 65 working days, depending on the complexity of the complaint.

Stage 3 - Review Panel

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of Stage 2, you can request that your complaint is progressed to a review panel at Stage 3. The review panel consists of three independent people who consider the complaint and makes recommendations to the Director of Children’s Services.

The Council must ensure that the Review Panel Hearing takes place within 30 working days from the receipt of the Stage 3 request. Following the Review Panel Hearing, the Review Panel will produce a report of its findings and recommendations and will aim to send this to you and the Council within five working days.

The Council will review the report and will aim to provide you with its final Stage 3 response within 15 working days of receiving the review panel’s report.